On the eve of what could be make-or-break testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee about sexual misconduct allegations against President Donald Trump's pick for the U.S. Supreme Court, Trump held a rare solo news conference. Here are some of the top moments.
Trump: Democrats Would Have Voted Against Washington
Even the country’s first president would have been voted down by Sen. Chuck Schumer and other Senate Democrats opposed to Trump’s U.S. Supreme Court pick, Brett Kavanaugh, the president said.
“I’m relying on very fair and talented Republican senators,” Trump said. “If we brought George Washington here and we said ‘We have George Washington,’ the Democrats would vote against him, just so you understand.
“He may have had a bad past,” Trump added of Washington. “Who knows? He may have had some I think accusations made. Didn’t he have a couple things in his past? George Washington would be voted against 100 percent by Schumer and the con artists. One hundred percent, 100 percent.”
Trump Says He Could Change His Mind Once He Hears From the Women
CNN’s Jim Acosta began his question with the suggestion that Trump call on a woman to address the sexual misconduct allegations against Kavanaugh.
“What does he mean by that?” Trump said looking out over the room. “Explain.”
“I think it would be great if a female reporter would ask you a question about this issue,” Acosta said.
“I wouldn’t mind that at all,” Trump said.
Acosta continued on to ask Trump why he always seemed to side with the accused, not the accuser, to which the president said it would possible that he would change his mind when he heard from the women.
And his next question went to Hallie Jackson of NBC News, who asked whether the president thought all three women who had made allegations against Kavanaugh were liars. (NBC News has since reported on a fourth misconduct allegation).
“I can’t tell you,” Trump said. “I have to watch tomorrow.”
Trump on If He Believes the Women Who Have Accused Kavanaugh
Trump was pressed by several reporters about whether he believed the women who were making accusations against Kavanaugh. Did he think they were liars?
“I won’t get into that game,” he said, but did disparage Michael Avenatti, the lawyer for one of the women, calling him a low life.
Trump extolled Kavanaugh’s qualifications, calling him “one of the highest quality people” he had ever met, but he also said he could be convinced by the women, and when he was asked whether there was a scenario under which he would withdraw Kavanaugh’s nomination, he said yes.
“If I thought he was guilty of something like this, sure,” he said.
He questioned why Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the senior Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, had waited so long to raise the accusation from Ford and why no charges had been brought in the 36 years since Ford alleges Kavanaugh assaulted her at a party. Feinstein has said that Ford initially asked for confidentiality and declined to press the matter further.
“I hope I can watch,” he said of Thursday's testimony before the Judiciary Committee. “I’m meeting with a lot of countries tomorrow.”
As far of whether sexual misconduct accusations that have been made against Trump affected his opinion, the president said yes.
“It does impact my opinion,” he said. “You know why? Because I've had a lot of false charges made against me.”
“People want fame," he said. "They want money. They want whatever. So when I see it, I view it differently than someone sitting at home watching television.”
Trump on Rosenstein
Trump also made a little news regarding Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.
President Donald Trump says he would "certainly prefer not" to fire Rosenstein and says he may delay a highly anticipated meeting with him.
Trump said Wednesday that Rosenstein denied making remarks attributed to him in a New York Times report, including that Rosenstein discussed secretly recording Trump last year.
Trump and Rosenstein had been scheduled to meet Thursday.
Trump says he may postpone that meeting because he is focused on an extraordinary Senate committee hearing set for the same day with Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and a woman who has accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault.
"They Weren't Laughing at Me"
“They weren’t laughing at me. They were laughing with me.”
That was Trump’s response during Thursday’s press conference when asked about the laughter his U.N. address elicited from world leaders Tuesday.
He also said it was “fake news.”
“The fake news said people laughed — they didn’t laugh at me. People had a good time with me. We were doing it together. We had a good time. They respect what I’ve done. The United States is respected again,” Trump said.
The president had been highlighting U.S. gains under his watch as he opened his address to the U.N. General Assembly. He said the American economy was “booming like never before” and that his administration has accomplished more in less than two years than almost any other administration.
His boast elicited laughter from the scores of heads of state and delegates in the audience for the speech.
Trump, who has long claimed that his predecessors’ weak leadership prompted other nations “to laugh” at the US. appeared flustered and responded, “I didn’t expect that reaction, but that’s OK.”
Later, as he was leaving the U.N., he told reporters that he had meant to be funny.
“Oh it was great, well, that was meant to get some laughter, so it was great,” he said.
In his speech Tuesday, Trump said the U.S. is a “stronger, safer and richer country” than when he took office in January 2017. He said “we are standing up for America and for the American people, and we are also standing up for the world.”
"Yes Please, Mr. Kurd"
Trump referred to one Kurdish journalist as “Mr. Kurd,” as he called on him during the news conference.
A previous reporter had identified himself from Kurdistan when the second man said he was too.
Turning to him, Trump said. “Yes please, Mr. Kurd.”
The man asked what the U.S. relationship with the Kurds — an ethnic group living in areas across southeastern Turkey, northwestern Iran, northern Iraq, northeastern Syria and southwestern Armenia — would be post-ISIS.
“We’re trying to help them a lot,” Trump said. “I want to help them. They fought with us. They died with us.”