By Ryan Teague Beckwith
September 25, 2018

President Donald Trump dramatically escalated his attacks on two women who have accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct, saying the accusations are part of a “Democratic con game.”

During a photo opportunity with the president of Colombia at the United Nations on Tuesday, Trump argued that a California professor’s claim that a teenage Kavanaugh held her down on a bed, put his hand over her mouth and tried to remove her clothes was “totally unsubstantiated.”

Trump noted that he saw an interview with Kavanaugh and his wife on Fox News Monday night where Kavanaugh said he “never sexually assaulted anyone.” Trump also called Kavanaugh a “high quality person” and argued that Democrats are “playing a con game.”

“He’s never had any charges like this,” Trump said. “I mean charges come up from 36 years ago that are totally unsubstantiated. You watching this as the president of a great country, Colombia, you must say, ‘How is this possible?’ Thirty-six years ago? Nobody ever knew about it. Nobody ever heard about it.”

Christine Blasey Ford told the Washington Post that she told no one of the incident until 2012, when she and her husband were in couples therapy. A therapist’s notes reviewed by the newspaper mention a student from an elite boy’s school who is now a high-ranking person in Washington but does not mention Kavanaugh by name.

Trump also criticized a second woman who claims that as a college student, Kavanaugh exposed himself to her during a drinking game.

“And now a new charge comes up and she said it might not be him and there were gaps and she said she was totally inebriated and she was all messed up and she doesn’t know if it was him but it might have been him, oh, gee, let’s not make him a Supreme Court judge because of that,” he said. “This is a con game being played by the Democrats.”

Deborah Ramirez told the New Yorker that there were “significant gaps” in her memory from that evening but after talking with her attorney she was confident enough to speak out.

Kavanaugh has denied both allegations. In a statement to the New Yorker, he said that the incident Ramirez described “did not happen.” “This is a smear, plain and simple,” he said.

Contact us at editors@time.com.

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