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GOP senator, a key Kavanaugh swing vote, was 'appalled' by Trump's sexual assault tweet

Sen. Susan Collins was not pleased with President Donald Trump's comments about Christine Blasey Ford's sexual assault accusation against Judge Brett Kavanaugh. (Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) was not pleased with President Donald Trump's tweet about Christine Blasey Ford, the woman accusing Supreme Court nominee Judge Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault, Politico reported.

Collins is one of a handful of undecided Republican senators whose vote could be crucial in determining whether Kavanaugh is confirmed to the Supreme Court.

Trump on Friday morning asked on Twitter why Ford didn't call the FBI when the alleged sexual assault took place 36 years ago if the attack "was as bad as she says."

"I was appalled by the president's tweet," Collins said, according to an audio recording provided to Politico by her office. "I thought that the president's tweet was completely inappropriate and wrong."

Why did Collins take issue?

Collins pointed out that many victims of sexual assault and harassment don't come forward immediately, for a variety of reasons, meaning that a delay in reporting doesn't necessarily mean the accusation is untrue.

"We know that allegations of sexual assault -- I'm not saying that's what happened in this case -- but we know that allegations of sexual assault are one of the most unreported crimes that exist," Collins said.

Where does Collins stand on Kavanaugh?

Collins has met with Kavanaugh, but she has not tipped her hand one way or the other about how she plans to vote.

As for the allegation of sexual assault against the judge, Collins said she believes Ford needs to testify, but she would be fine if that hearing was delayed until Wednesday or Thursday to accommodate Ford. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has maintained that Ford needs to show up at a scheduled Monday hearing.

Collins has been under significant pressure due to her status as a moderate who could go either way on Kavanaugh. A crowdfunding campaign has raised more than a million dollars that it will donate to her 2020 opponent if she votes for Kavanaugh, and she has received angry messages and threats throughout this process.


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