Senate

Susan Collins: Trump's 'she's not my type' defense is 'extremely bizarre'

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), one of the most prominent women in the upper chamber, called President Trump's choice of words in denying an allegation that he sexually assaulted a writer more than 20 years ago "extremely bizarre."

Trump on Monday vehemently denied the charge, telling The Hill in an exclusive interview: "She's not my type." 

"I'll say it with great respect," he said. "No. 1, she's not my type. No. 2, it never happened. It never happened, OK?"

Collins, who cast the controversial key vote to confirm Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh after he was also accused of a decades-old sexual assault, said on Monday she didn't know enough to comment on E. Jean Carroll's claim Trump assaulted her in a Bergdorf Goodman fitting room in Manhattan in the mid-1990s.

But she said his response that he didn't find his accuser, a columnist for Elle magazine, attractive was odd. 

"I thought the president's comment, 'She's not my type,' or something along those lines was extremely bizarre," Collins said.

Other Republicans said they also didn't know enough to speak to the allegation but are willing to give Trump the benefit of the doubt.

"The only thing I've seen is you all's reporting. I accept his denial at face value," Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), who is up for reelection, told reporters.

"As somebody who had a front-row seat to the Kavanaugh hearings, we saw allegations that were proven false there," he added. "We'll let the facts go where they are but I take the president right - take his statement at face value."

Sen. Mike Braun (R-Ind.) said he heard about Trump's response Tuesday morning.

"I'd want to learn more about it," he said. "Of course, it's a serious matter. I didn't see what the background was on it. I know it was from a long time ago."

"I'll think he'll have to contend with that just like other things that have surfaced over time," he added.

Asked if he believed Trump's denial, Braun said the president "will have to litigate that."

"I believe in the fact that anybody should be able to air their grievance or view and there should be some process to defend yourself," he said. 

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