Brett Kavanaugh, U.S. Supreme Court associate justice nominee for U.S. President Donald Trump, reacts while testifying during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S. (Photographer: Saul Loeb/Pool via Bloomberg)

Trump Says Kavanaugh’s Testimony Showed Past ‘Difficulty’ With Drinking

(Bloomberg) -- President Donald Trump said Brett Kavanaugh’s testimony last week showed that the Supreme Court nominee had “a little bit of difficulty” with alcohol when he was younger, undercutting the judge’s own portrayal of his drinking habits in high school and college.

Trump made the comments amid criticism from some of Kavanaugh’s former acquaintances that he had misled the Senate Judiciary Committee about the extent of his drinking when he was younger. Kavanaugh has been accused of sexual assault and other misconduct while drinking at parties in high school and college.

Trump turned to the subject in a Rose Garden press conference Monday when asked whether he would withdraw Kavanaugh’s nomination if he lied to the committee by understating his alcohol use. Trump parried the question, saying Kavanaugh had been unusually forthcoming about the subject.

“I was surprised at how vocal he was about the fact that he likes beer and he’s had a little bit of difficulty, I mean, he talked about things that happened when he drank,” Trump said.

Kavanaugh’s repeated references to liking beer -- and initial attempts to avoid answering a question on whether he had ever blacked out from alcohol use -- have been the subject of parody, including a skit on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live.” Yale University classmate Charles Ludington released a statement saying Kavanaugh’s testimony -- in which he eventually said he’d never blacked out -- was a “blatant mischaracterization.”

Trump at his press conference sought to pivot to a humorous tone, at first saying he had received “bad reports” on everyone at the event -- “except for Mike Pence,” his socially conservative vice president.

He later turned the question into a joke at his own expense, reminding the crowd of his own avoidance of alcohol and making light of his volatile personality.

“I can honestly say I’ve never had a beer in my life,” Trump said. “Could you imagine if I had, what a mess I’d be? I’d be the world’s worst. I never drank.”

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