The people who surround Trump are supposed to be the "adults" and "moderating influences" who keep him in check. But they're no better.
The White House is quite sad to say goodbye to a man accused of domestic violence by three different women.
On Wednesday, Donald Trump’s staff secretary, Rob Porter, resigned in disgrace, after a story by the Daily Mail revealed that he had abused not one but two ex-wives and included a picture of a black eye to prove it. A third woman, whose identity has not been published, reportedly reached out to Porter’s ex-wives in 2016 for help.
“I have been with Rob off and on now for a little over three years, and don’t know where to turn to discuss my experience or how to escape it,” she wrote.
Rather than immediately denounce and fire Porter when the story broke earlier this week, Trump’s White House stood behind him.
“Rob Porter has been effective in his role as Staff Secretary,” press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. “The President and Chief of Staff have full confidence in his abilities and his performance.”
Chief of staff John Kelly said Tuesday that Porter was “a man of true integrity and honor and I cant say enough good things about him. He is a friend, a confidante and a trusted professional. I am proud to serve alongside him.” Kelly reportedly urged Porter to “stay and fight,” in spite of the incredibly serious accusations against him.
Even after Porter’s resignation Wednesday, Kelly was defending Porter, while at the same time in obvious damage control mode over his support for Porter.
“I was shocked by the new allegations released today against Rob Porter,” Kelly said in a statement released late Wednesday night. “There is no place for domestic violence in our society. I stand by my previous comments of the Rob Porter that I have come to know since becoming Chief of Staff, and believe every individual deserves the right to defend their reputation. I accepted his resignation earlier today, and will ensure a swift and orderly transition.”
Since becoming president, Trump has defended serial sexual harassers Roger Ailes and Bill O’Reilly, who were both forced out at Fox News because of their extensive and expensive records of harassment.
He has defended violent neo-Nazis and white supremacists as “very fine people.”
He enthusiastically supported Roy Moore, the Alabama Senate candidate who was accused of molesting a 14-year-old girl, essentially arguing that he would rather have a child molester in the Senate than a Democrat. (He did not get his way.)
He pardoned his fellow birther, the criminally racist disgraced former sheriff of Maricopa County, Joe Arpaio.
It certainly appears that Trump favors and coddles the most vicious abusers in our country, and his inner circle in the White House even the people who have fooled the media into portraying them as “moderating influences” and “adults” shares his heinous views.
None of this, however, should come as a surprise. Because while it has been said so many times that it sounds like a cliche, the president of the United States is an admitted abuser himself.
“I just start kissing them,” he said. “Just kiss. I dont even wait. And when youre a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. … Grab em by the pussy. You can do anything.”
More than a dozen women have come forward with stories of him doing exactly that: grabbing them, trying to kiss them, not even waiting for their consent. His first wife, Ivana Trump, described a night toward the end of their marriage when he violently raped her a story his attorney later said couldn’t be true because “you can’t rape your spouse.”
The people who work with Trump his press secretary, his chief of staff, everyone have chosen to ignore Trump’s record of abuse and his support for abusers. And so it makes a sad and twisted kind of sense that they would side with other abusers, rather than their victims.
But that doesn’t make it right. It disgraces the office and the country they serve. The people around Trump, the people who are supposed to at least keep his worst instincts in check, are obviously no better. And that is the biggest disgrace of all.