U.S. United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley distanced herself on Sunday from President Donald Trump’s skeptical comments about the woman accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexually assaulted her, saying that accusers should not be second-guessed about their handling of alleged attacks.
In a pair of tweets on Friday, Trump attempted to discredit Christine Blasey Ford’s accusations by questioning why she didn’t immediately report her allegations to law enforcement in 1982 when both she and Kavanaugh were high school students.
Haley, appointed to her post by Trump, was asked on CNN’s “State of the Union” whether she was “comfortable” with the president’s comments.
“The message I’m comfortable with is that accusers go through a lot of trauma and some handle it one way and some handle it the other way,” Haley told host Jake Tapper. “Regardless, you never ― it’s not something that we want to do, to blame the accuser or try to second guess the accuser.”
She continued: “We don’t know the situation she was going through 35 years ago. We don’t know the circumstances. … What I’ve said often is she deserves respect. She deserves to be heard. Kavanaugh, who has been accused, deserves to be heard. And I think we’ll get all our answers” within a few days.
Trump’s tweets highlighted the common ― and misguided ― notion that victims of sexual assault will typically respond by calling the police and that something must be amiss if they don’t. In fact, nearly two-thirds of women who are raped or sexually assaulted don’t contact law enforcement officials.
Blasey, a 51-year-old research psychologist in Northern California, has reached a tentative agreement to testify about her experience before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday. The panel has delayed their vote on whether to advance Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the full Senate to hear Blasey’s testimony.
Kavanaugh, 53, has denied Blasey’s allegation and will be given the chance to respond to her testimony.
Blasey identified herself last Sunday as the woman who sent a confidential letter in late July to Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) and Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-
Haley, the former governor of South Carolina, said on CNN that Judiciary Committee members have “a huge responsibility” to make sure their consideration of Blasey’s accusations is “fair.”
“They have to take the politics out” of their examination of the allegation, she said. “And for the good of both families, I think they have to do this swiftly and quickly, and they have to do it with a lot of care.”
“We don’t know what the truth is,” Haley said. “But we’ll find out.”