Just before President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Friday morning to openly attack Dr. Christine Blasey Ford for the first time, Ed Whelan, a close friend and advisor to Brett Kavanaugh and staffer at the right-wing Ethics and Public Policy Center, issued a statement of regret over a conspiracy theory he posted on Twitter overnight about the sexual assault allegations made by Ford against Trump's pick for the U.S. Supreme Court.
In a lengthy and detailed thread—which he has now been deleted—Whelan ultimately fingered a friend of Kavanaugh's as the more likely assailant, but on Friday morning said that his decision to post the ridiculous theory was a mistake.
"I made an appalling and inexcusable mistake of judgment in posting the tweet thread in a way that identified Kavanaugh's Georgetown Prep classmate," Whelan said in a statement. "I take full responsibility for that mistake, and I deeply apologize for it. I realize that does not undo the mistake."
Following Whelan's initial post, Ford issued a statement through her legal team, which pushed back vehemently against the idea that she had accused the wrong person. "There is zero chance that I would confuse them," Ford stated, according to the Washington Post.
It was too late, however, for the morning hosts over at Fox & Friends who appeared to gobble up the charade before Whelan—with or without the help of some solid shaming—found the good sense to retract it:
— Media Matters (@mmfa) September 21, 2018
Responding overnight to the now-deleted thread, The Week's Ryan Cooper simply stated, "This is batshit."
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The whole episode, Ryan added, was at least a nice reminder "that most of the Very Serious Conservative Scholars" surrounding Kavanaugh "are every bit as loopy as your average goldbug email forward uncle."
Subsequently, just after 9:00 AM on Friday, Trump proved how little he knows about the trauma that victims face in the aftermath of sexual assault by tweeting:
I have no doubt that, if the attack on Dr. Ford was as bad as she says, charges would have been immediately filed with local Law Enforcement Authorities by either her or her loving parents. I ask that she bring those filings forward so that we can learn date, time, and place!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 21, 2018
To which a person who actually knows something about the issue, and cares about the crucial importance of believing and respecting survivors, responded:
The current self proclaimed pussy grabbing sexually assaulting POTUS wants to know why a teen girl didn't come forward when sexually assaulted 3 decades ago. Any Trump's 17+ victims want to explain why, AGAIN?! #Kavanaugh #KavanaughHearings #KavaNO #KavanaughAccusation https://t.co/nJHhYFjKzv
— Carrie Lee (@embraceallllc) September 21, 2018
"The dam has broken," declared journalist Jonathan Swann in response to the president's tweet. "As we reported on Axios this morning," he continued: "A source who has been talking to President Trump throughout the Kavanaugh crisis told Axios that 'you have no idea' how hard it's been to keep him from attacking his Supreme Court nominee's accuser."