Rob Porter, former White House staff secretary, resigned on Wednesday as details about his past of domestic abuse were revealed. Two of his ex-wives came forward publicly with allegations against Porter, one who said he gave her a black eye and another who claimed she had a restraining order against him. Today, Trump spoke on the matter—which ballooned into a political scandal in the past few days—for the first time and exposed some deeply sexist and hypocritical sentiments.
Senior White House aide Rob Porter physically assaulted two ex-wives, they tell @theintercept. Full story to come in the morning.— Ryan Grim (@ryangrim) February 7, 2018
His first wife, Colbie Holderness, provided these photos from a vacation they took together in Florence, Italy: pic.twitter.com/tl3TbyGA8Y
Porter has denied the allegations, but resigned this week.
Many sources report that top government officials, including Chief of Staff John Kelly, knew about Porter’s violent past as early as November of last year and yet did nothing. Kelly even went a step beyond, calling Porter “a man of true integrity and honor” and “a friend, a confidante, and a trusted professional.” The FBI refused to grant him a full security clearance as a result—so why was he given such an important and top-level job in government?
Trump praised his former aide’s work ethic and expressed sadness that he had to leave his post. Once again: Trump “wished him well” but made no mention at all of the women who have allegedly been hurt by Porter or even the reason why he has been forced out of the White House.
"We found out about it recently and I was surprised by it, but we certainly wish him well and it's a tough time for him,” Trump said. "He did a very good job when he was in the White House.”
“We hope he has a wonderful career and he will have a great career ahead of him,” the President continued. "But it was very sad when we heard about it and certainly he's also very sad now.
"He also, as you probably know, says he's innocent and I think you have to remember that,” Trump said, in a final blow to any sense of decency or morality.
This might be a good time to point to a 2012 Trump tweet back when Chris Brown attacked his then girlfriend, Rihanna.
Either Trump drastically changed his “a beater is always a beater” comments in the past few years, or there’s another reason why one “beater” must be eternally damned as a bad man but Porter has a “great career ahead of him.” Chris Brown is, of course, black and Porter is, of course, white, but I’m sure that has absolutely nothing to do with it.
Mike Pence was asked about the situation and gave a better answer than Trump (which is to say, he did the absolute bare minimum.)
"There's no tolerance in this White House, no place in America for domestic abuse," he told NBC.
Steve Bannon, who has since been fired but was a top-level official in Trump's campaign and administration, was once charged with domestic violence. Corey Lewandowski, Trump's former campaign manager, has been accused of sexual assault and was charged with battery after attacking a female reporter. Andrew Puzder, Trump's initial pick for labor secretary, backed down from the job after his former wife accused him of domestic violence. Trump himself has also been accused of sexual assault and harassment by multiple women; his former wife, Ivana, once accused him of rape.
Joe Biden skewered Trump over his comments later in the same day. “That’s like saying: ‘That ax murderer over there – he’s a great painter!'” Biden said at a public event. “Is there any other crime where there could be the explanation the reason why we should not pay attention to the transgression is because they’re good at something?”