Trump Defends Departed Staffer Accused of Domestic Violence

We can’t disagree with CNN’s Chris Cillizza on some completely ridiculous comments from President Trump today on former White House staff secretary Rob Porter:

On Friday afternoon, President Donald Trump was asked his thoughts on the departure of White House staff secretary Rob Porter amid a series of allegations of domestic abuse from his ex-wives.

“He says he’s innocent and I think you have to remember that,” Trump replied. “He said very strongly yesterday that he’s innocent but you’ll have to talk to him about that.”

Uh, what?…

…”We certainly wish him well,” Trump said of Porter. “It’s obviously a very tough time for him. He did a very good job while he was in the White House. We hope that he will have a wonderful career.”

So. Tone. Deaf.

Why is the President of the United States wishing a man — who faces very credible accusations of beating at least three women — well? Why is the focus on Porter and not on the women? Who cares whether Porter will have a “wonderful career” at this point?

You may remember that Trump used a similar explanation for why he continued to support Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore in the wake of multiple allegations of sexual assault and harassment against the former judge. “You have to listen to him also,” said Trump in November. “He totally denies it.”

Ugh.

White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, shown here in more introspective times.

While Trump whistles past this particular graveyard, the fallout from Porter’s resignation may soon claim the job of Chief of Staff John Kelly. As the Washington Post explains:

At this point, it is looking more and more difficult to see how he will survive.

According to The Washington Post’s Philip Rucker and Josh Dawsey, Kelly told staff Friday to say he had decided to fire Porter within 40 minutes of learning allegations Porter abused two ex-wives were credible. Some staffers who were at the meeting left feeling that Kelly had effectively asked them to lie on his behalf.

It is extremely difficult to square that statement with everything we know. Kelly issued an initial statement Tuesday featuring effusive praise for Porter, and reports indicated that even as Porter was resigning, Kelly had urged him to stay on and fight. Even in issuing a second statement Wednesday night that said the allegations against Porter were “shocking,” Kelly stood by his earlier statement that Porter was “a man of true integrity and honor, and I can’t say enough good things about him.”

More important, though, that this leaked out so quickly suggests Kelly has lost the confidence of his staff. When you combine this with that letter he sent to them Thursday night assuring them he takes domestic violence seriously, it suggests serious unrest in the West Wing and a chief of staff who is treading water with the staff he leads.

Kelly obviously hasn’t learned much from serving Trump in the White House. All Kelly has to do to keep his job is to deny everything to Trump — as long as you say you didn’t do it, everything is gravy. As Paul Waldman writes for the Washington Post, the President “takes men’s protestations of innocence over allegations like this very, very seriously.”

11 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. unnamed says:

    Fluffy would say that Porter shouldn't have been fired.  He should have just apologized.  Maybe.

    • Conserv. Head Banger says:

      Kelly may have known about these credible allegations as early as last September. White House counsel may have known a year ago.

      • unnamed says:

        Another bad situation to add to a long list of bad situations.  Kelly is reportedly offerring his resignation.

      • Diogenesdemar says:

        They all knew about them.

        Porter, despite his position involving the likelihood of handling among the most secret of documents the President receives, was never, ever granted a full security clearance after he joined the Administration because the FBI had uncovered his abusive history during their background checking, and deemed him a potential blackmail (security) risk. 

  2. As a friend pointed out, Trump probably thinks both Porter and his ex-wives are very fine people – and I'm sure it's for the same reason he thinks that white supremacists are very fine people – it's what he sees in the mirror…

  3. mamajama55mamajama55 says:

    Same as it ever was. 

    "It's a private, family matter."

    "She provoked him."

    "It's nobody else's business."

    "Spare the rod and spoil the child."

    "To the moon, Alice!"  "Right in the kisser."- The Honeymooners

    "If we had a problem, it's because I loved her too much." – OJ Simpson

    ‘The periods of violent behavior by the husband,’ the doctors observed, ‘served to release him momentarily from his anxiety about his ineffectiveness as a man, while giving his wife apparent masochistic gratification and helping probably to deal with the guilt arising from the intense hostility expressed in her controlling, castrating behavior.’ – General Psychiatry text, ~1950s

    Islamic Council says that it is permitted for Pakistani men to "lightly beat" their wives.

    Russian Duma: Putin signs law reducing punishment for domestic battery. 10,000 Russian women (estimated) die each year from injuries suffered from spousal abuse.

     

  4. ParkHill says:

    WOTD from General Kelly:

    And Chief of Staff Kelly has paid lip service to the notion that women should be safe at work and at home. During a White House press conference in October, he lamented changing cultural norms that, in his view, put women at risk. “When I was a kid growing up, a lot of things were sacred in our country. Women were sacred and looked upon with great honor.”

    • ParkHill says:

      WOTD: "Trump just taught a master class in manipulating language to excuse abuse"

      Trump uses verbs to credit Porter. Trump knows Porter is a fully capable man who can accomplish verb-driven behavior. 

      But Trump drops the verbs when he should actually use them. Instead of describing any accusations against Porter, any description of what Porter might have done, what the FBI did or found, we get one tiny, flat, immobile word: “it.”

      “It” does not describe “punched his wife.”

      “It does not describe “bruised her arm.” 

      “It” does not describe “smashed glass.” 

      “It” does not describe “yelled obscenities.”

  5. RepealAndReplace says:

    Chris Christie, opportunity is knocking…..

    This is the big moment ex-Governor Donuts has been waiting for. The only problem: Jared Kushner still nurses a grudge.

    My take on the short list for Kelly's replace consists of:

    1. Governor Donuts

    2. Reince Prius (a retread)

    3. Ivanka

  6. mamajama55mamajama55 says:

    And yet another staffer, David Sorenson, who worked under Stephen Miller, has resigned after his ugly history of domestic assault came to light.

    Stephen Miller is a senior policy advisor, one of the surviving crazies in Trump's cabinet, and is supposedly in charge of "women's issues".

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