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Donald Trump Jr. mocks Christine Blasey Ford over "selective fear of flying"

Donald Trump Jr. lampooned Dr. Christine Blasey Ford over her apparent fear of flying in a tweet Thursday, as the California-based college professor testified to Congress that she was assaulted by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh while the two were teenagers in suburban Maryland in 1982. 

"I'm no psychology professor but it does seem weird to me that someone could have a selective fear of flying," Trump Jr. tweeted. "Can't do it to testify but for vacation, well it's not a problem at all," he continued.

Asked about reports that she had anxiety about flying and wanted Senate investigators to interview her at home in California, Ford said she was hoping to avoid a flight to Washington. "I eventually was able to get up the gumption with the help of some friends and get on the plane," she said.

Ford was asked about her fear of flying by Rachel Mitchell, a former sex-crimes prosecutor from Arizona, who noted that Ford has flown to Delaware annually to visit her family, and had traveled to vacation spots including Hawaii and the South Pacific by airplane.  Mitchell was questioning Ford on behalf of the Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee as part of the ongoing hearings on Kavanaugh's nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Psychologists who treat patients with fear of flying say Ford's account of her phobia rings true.

"I watched her testify today and talk about her fear of flying, and it sounded exactly like one of my patients," said Dr. Martin Seif, a psychologist in Greenwich, Connecticut, who has treated over 2,000 patients for anxiety disorders involved with flying. 

"The rule of fear of flying is that there's inconsistency," said Seif. "Anxiety is a chronic intermittent disorder." 

Dr. Robert Reiner, a New York psychologist who treats fear of flying using a combination of biofeedback and virtual reality devices, said the fact that Dr. Ford was able to fly at some times and not at others was not surprising. 

"It's perfectly understandable that she could do it it under certain circumstances — it would never be something she likes doing, but she could tolerate it," said Reiner. "There are plenty of people with fear of flying who manage to get on planes, but they're just a nervous wreck. They're the ones who need a couple of drinks or take a Xanax, but they don't like it."

Trump Jr. also retweeted comments by several people doubting Ford's ability to recall the alleged assault.