Mr. Trump’s aggressive comments on Tuesday came after privately expressing concern that Judge Kavanaugh had been too weak during an interview on Monday night on Fox News. The judge rejected the allegations against him in a calm way, growing a little emotional at the end, but the president and some of his advisers worried that he was not forceful or indignant enough. Judge Kavanaugh repeated some of the same scripted lines repeatedly, to the point that some of his allies believed it came across as robotic.
The president hinted at his private disappointment in his public comments to reporters on Tuesday. “He was so truthful,” he said of the judge. “You’re also not seeing him on his footing. This isn’t his footing. He’s never been here before. He’s never had any charges like this, I mean charges come up from 36 years ago that are totally unsubstantiated.”
But Ms. Murkowski’s expressions of concern undercut Republican efforts to paint the accusations as a grand Democratic plot. She was always expected to be a critical vote in Judge Kavanaugh’s confirmation process. But she is making clear that, beyond matters of abortion, she is deeply troubled by Dr. Blasey’s story.