MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:
Until now, President Trump has held off on attacking Brett Kavanaugh's accuser. This morning, that changed with a tweet about Christine Blasey Ford, the woman who says Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were both in high school more than 30 years ago. Kavanaugh has flatly denied the accusation. President Trump tweeted, quote, "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."
ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:
Some of Kavanaugh's supporters had been urging the White House to more forcefully defend the Supreme Court nominee. Ralph Reed is the founder of the Faith and Freedom Coalition and has played a prominent role in conservative circles for decades. We reached him at his office in Atlanta to talk about the allegations against Kavanaugh. And I began by asking him his view of how Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee have responded.
RALPH REED: They're in an extremely delicate situation because while we have Dr. Ford's interview with The Washington Post, we have not yet heard from her. And neither she nor her attorneys have cooperated with the committee's attempt to investigate the allegation.
SHAPIRO: Well, they have negotiated. They're having conversations about the terms under which...
REED: Well, they have negotiated, but the committee investigators contacted her Monday of this week after her allegations first appeared in The Washington Post - sought to interview her. They've contacted other alleged witnesses. They've obtained sworn affidavits from them. And her attorneys have not allowed her to be interviewed by investigators. And I don't understand why if you wanted to get to the bottom of something why you wouldn't cooperate with the committee's good faith attempt to ascertain what exactly happened 36 years ago.
SHAPIRO: Do you think the public message from Republicans in the Senate and the White House, which is that Ford should be listened to and respected - do you think that is the right message?
REED: I do. Look. I have members of my family who are victims of sexual assault and rape. And I know that this is a deeply grievous and wounding event. And I think that people who say that this happened to them need to be heard. But the committee and the U.S. Senate also has a corollary responsibility to Judge Kavanaugh to ensure that someone, with a virtually unblemished life and career, does not have his life and career derailed or destroyed by a false allegation at the eleventh hour.
SHAPIRO: How do you know it's a false allegation?
REED: I didn't say it was. I said there's a corollary responsibility. She should be heard. But there is a corollary responsibility to ensure that if it isn't true, or it cannot be proven, that his career and life is not derailed or destroyed. Look. It's extremely difficult. I think it requires almost Solomonic wisdom.
SHAPIRO: What do you think of President Trump's tweet this morning, when he said if this was as bad as she says, charges would have been immediately filed, when of course victims of sexual assault and sexual assault experts say in many, if not most cases, they're not?
REED: Well, you know, the president obviously is stating his view that if it was, as her attorney has characterized it, an attempted rape that could have led to an inadvertent attempted murder, that more than likely, whether it was law enforcement or someone else, someone would have been or should have been told - either a friend, a counselor, a teacher. It seems unusual for an event of this kind that clearly is a felony that no one contemporaneously was told.
SHAPIRO: If you had the president's ear this week, what advice would you give him?
REED: I think my advice wouldn't be any different than what he is doing. This matter is before the Senate. The Senate Judiciary Committee has a very able chairman in Senator Chuck Grassley. I think they'll handle this in an appropriate way. And I assume that the Senate Judiciary Committee will hear testimony from these two individuals, will then vote. And then I expect the full Senate to vote.
SHAPIRO: Ralph Reed is founder of the Faith and Freedom Coalition - good to talk to you today. Thanks for joining us.
REED: You bet. Thanks so much. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.