Trump Stands by ‘Fantastic’ Kavanaugh as He Seeks G.O.P. Votes

WASHINGTON — President Trump called Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh a “fantastic, fantastic man” as he cast doubt on sexual misconduct allegations that have jeopardized the judge’s nomination to the Supreme Court.

In a radio interview to be broadcast on Monday morning, Mr. Trump acknowledged that he will most likely not be able to persuade any Democrats to vote for Judge Kavanaugh, meaning that he will have to hold nearly every Republican to win confirmation in the narrowly divided Senate.

“We’ll get almost no Democrat,” he told Geraldo Rivera for the debut show of “Geraldo in Cleveland” on WTAM radio. “We may get a couple in states where I won by many, many points — you understand that — but we’ll essentially get no Democrat.”

Yet Mr. Trump suggested Christine Blasey Ford’s allegations against Judge Kavanaugh were suspect because she never reported them to the authorities. “This went 36 years without a complaint.”

Dr. Blasey, 51, who also goes by her married name, Ford, has accused Judge Kavanaugh, 53, of sexually assaulting her while he was drunk during a high school party when they were both teenagers. He has categorically denied the allegation and the two are scheduled to testify separately before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday. Mr. Trump has stuck by Judge Kavanaugh, who would join Justice Neil M. Gorsuch, his first appointee, on the high court.

“Hopefully we’ll have a second judge very shortly who is a fantastic, fantastic man, a fantastic talent and intellect,” Mr. Trump said.

The president, nonetheless, said he favored allowing Dr. Blasey to make her case before the Senate. “I want her to have her voice,” he said. “Let her have her voice, let her say whatever she has to say. Let him say what he has to say and that in the end these senators will make a choice.”

The interview was taped before The New Yorker posted a story on Sunday citing another woman, Deborah Ramirez, 53, who said that an inebriated Judge Kavanaugh exposed himself in front of her face during a dormitory party at Yale University. Judge Kavanaugh denied that allegation, too.

At one point, the White House had hopes of winning the support of several Democratic senators running for re-election in states that Mr. Trump won, but that prospect seemed to vanish with the emergence of Dr. Blasey’s allegations. If no Democrats support Judge Kavanaugh, that means the Republicans, who hold a 51 to 49 majority with Vice President Mike Pence able to break ties, can only afford to lose one of their own caucus.

During the interview, Mr. Trump declined to say whether he might fire Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, after a report in The New York Times that Mr. Rosenstein last year suggested secretly recording the president to demonstrate the chaos in the administration and raised the possibility of invoking the 25th Amendment to remove him from office.

The Justice Department has said that Mr. Rosenstein was joking when he talked about taping the president, a version in conflict with others who described his comments. Mr. Rosenstein said that he currently sees “no basis to invoke the 25th Amendment.”

Advisers have sought to keep Mr. Trump from firing Mr. Rosenstein, at least until after the midterm elections in November, for fear of a backlash. Since Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself from overseeing the Russia investigation, Mr. Rosenstein supervises the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III.

“I don’t want to comment on it until I get all the facts,” Mr. Trump said when asked if he would fire Mr. Rosenstein. “I haven’t gotten all the facts, but certainly it’s being looked at in terms of what took place. If anything took place and I’ll make a determination sometime later, but I don’t have the facts.”

Mr. Trump asserted that he was not worried about his former personal attorney, Michael D. Cohen, who is talking with Mr. Mueller’s prosecutors after pleading guilty to breaking campaign finance laws and other crimes.

“No, I’m not, because I’m an honest guy,” Mr. Trump said. “And that stuff is unrelated to me. And that was Michael did that stuff. And Michael I mean you know, you know I have many, many lawyers. I have very big law firms I have that do my work.”

While the president said it was “unrelated to me,” in fact, Mr. Cohen acknowledged in court that Mr. Trump directed him to make payments to two women during the 2016 campaign to keep them silent about affairs they said they had with the candidate.

Mr. Rivera asked if Mr. Trump knew of anything that Mr. Cohen could tell the authorities that could be a problem for the president. “I don’t know anything because I’ll be honest I do everything straight,” Mr. Trump said. “I do everything straight.”

Mr. Trump again defended his handling of Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico and again assailed Carmen Yulín Cruz, the mayor of San Juan, calling her a “horror show.” The mayor recently called Mr. Trump “delusional, paranoid, and unhinged from any sense of reality” for denying the officially accepted death count of 3,000 from the hurricane.

“You have the mayor of San Juan who’s incompetent,” Mr. Trump said. “She should never be there. She’s just doesn’t know what she’s doing, she’s totally incompetent person. You have as you know locally they did a very, very poor job. The electric was broken before the storms that got hit by two storms not one.”

He said that critics blamed him for a situation that was already dysfunctional before the storm. “It was a total mess, it was corrupt — couldn’t be worse,” he said. “The storms hit and they said, ‘Oh let’s blame Trump for the electric, let’s have Trump, let’s have Trump fix the electric plant, which takes a long time to rebuild it, which is a big deal. Let’s blame Trump for everything.’”

Mr. Trump expressed affection for the people of the island. “I love Puerto Rican people,” he told Mr. Rivera. “I love you. You’re half Puerto Rico. I love you.”