US President Donald Trump is facing criticism from fellow Republicans after he mocked a woman who says she was assaulted by his Supreme Court nominee.
Senators Jeff Flake and Susan Collins, both key votes to confirm Brett Kavanaugh, spoke out a day after Mr Trump’s remarks at a Mississippi rally.
Mr Flake called the president’s comments “appalling”, and Ms Collins said they were “just plain wrong”.
Last week Mr Trump called Christine Blasey Ford a “compelling” witness.
Mr Flake – who joined a committee vote in favour of the judge so long as an FBI investigation was held – told NBC’s Today show he wished the president had not spoken out.
“There’s no time and no place for remarks like that,” he said on NBC’s Today show.
“To discuss something this sensitive at a political rally is just not right. It’s just not right. I wish he hadn’t had done it.”
Mr Flake of Arizona is a closely watched swing vote as Republicans can potentially only afford one defection if they are to confirm their nominee.
Ms Collins, a moderate Republican from Maine, has not yet said whether she will vote for Judge Kavanaugh either.
CNN quoted her as saying on Wednesday morning: “The president’s comments were just plain wrong.”
Prof Ford’s lawyer, Michael Bromwich, described Mr Trump’s words as “a vicious, vile and soulless attack” on her.
“Is it any wonder that she was terrified to come forward, and that other sexual assault survivors are as well?” he added.
On Tuesday, Mr Flake said he was “very troubled” by the tenor of Judge Kavanaugh’s “partisan” testimony to the Senate Judiciary Committee last week.
Democratic leader Senator Chuck Schumer took the Senate floor on Wednesday to denounced Mr Trump’s “outright mockery of a sexual assault survivor.”
He said the president’s “despicable” remarks would validate the worst fears of sexual assault complainants about not being believed.
He told supporters in the town of Southhaven on Tuesday night that his political opponents had been “trying to destroy Judge Kavanaugh since the very first second he was announced”.
He then poked fun at Prof Ford’s testimony, saying she appeared not to remember basic details about the alleged assault.
The audience laughed as the president said: “Thirty-six years ago this happened: I had one beer! Well, you think it was…? Nope! It was one beer.
“Oh, good. How’d you get home? I don’t remember. How’d you get there? I don’t remember. Where was the place? I don’t remember.
“How many years ago was it? I don’t know. I don’t know. I don’t know! I don’t know! What neighbourhood was it in? I don’t know.
“Where’s the house? I don’t know! Upstairs, downstairs, where was it? I don’t know! But I had one beer. That’s the only thing I remember. And a man’s life is in tatters.”
Shortly after Prof Ford’s dramatic testimony to the Senate committee last week, Mr Trump said she was “very compelling” and described her as a “very fine woman”.
Earlier on Tuesday Mr Trump told reporters it was a “very scary time for young men in America when you can be guilty of something that you may not be guilty of”.
What does Prof Ford remember?
When she spoke before the Senate committee last Thursday, Prof Ford recalled that the house where the alleged assault took place was in the Chevy Chase-Bethesda area in the Washington DC suburbs.
The president seemed to suggest she did not know on what floor of the property the alleged attack had occurred, but Prof Ford told senators she remembered being pushed into a bedroom on the upstairs level.
She testified that it occurred in the summer of 1982. Arizona prosecutor Rachel Mitchell, who questioned Prof Ford during testimony, said she had told a polygrapher it happened in the early 80s, then crossed out the word “early”.
Prof Ford did acknowledge in her testimony that she could not provide all the details asked of her – including how she arrived at the party or how she left it and where exactly it took place.
“I don’t have all the answers, and I don’t remember as much as I would like to,” she said. “But the details about that night that bring me here today are ones I will never forget.”
Experts have said it is not unusual for victims of trauma to remember certain details vividly but have little recollection of other things to which the brain may have accorded less significance.