As is the case with much of the news coming out of Trump’s White House, today’s shocking revelation would have completely dominated news cycles for months if it were to happen to any other president. But since it’s the Trump White House, the sheer number of scandals can diminish the weight of each incident.
The most recent explosion that blasted through Trump’s staff was the accusations of violence made towards White House staffer Rob Porter, along with Porter’s subsequent resignation.
Porter was accused of being abusive by two of his ex-wives. Slate sums up the allegations:
‘Long before Wednesday, many of the people to whom he reported knew he had physically abused and assaulted both of his wives. Colbie Holderness, Porter’s first wife, and Jennifer Willoughby, Porter’s second wife, both told the FBI their marriages had ended because of a pattern of physical and emotional abuse. According to their accounts, supported by photos, contemporaneous reporting to others, and a blog post written by Willoughby last April, Porter kicked these women, he punched and choked one of these women, he blackened one of these women’s eyes. He berated and insulted these women. Police were called.’
— CNN (@CNN) February 9, 2018
The immediate White House response was to stand by Porter.
John Kelly and Sarah Sanders defended Rob Porter on Tuesday.
Kelly on Porter: "A man of true integrity and honor… I am proud to serve alongside him."
Sanders on Porter: "Someone of the highest integrity and exemplary character." https://t.co/PdLtrrtP2X
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) February 7, 2018
The public outcry was so loud that eventually White House senior staff finally took a look at the evidence and took action. Porter was still allowed the dignity of resigning instead of being fired.
Despite all of this evidence, President Trump spent his time talking about Porter’s firing defending Porter and wishing him well.
Trump’s announcement (and defense) of Porter astounded the media.
What the president is trying to say is that there were very fine people on both sides of that vase that went into Rob Porter’s ex-wife’s face.
— Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) February 9, 2018
What we didn’t hear from Trump:
– No expressed sympathy for Porter’s ex-wife Colbie Holderness
– No expressed sympathy for Porter’s second ex-wife Jennifer Willoughby
– No expressed sympathy for the ex-girlfriend who warned the White House about Porter’s alleged abuse pic.twitter.com/uCuB5wBjhn
— The Lead CNN (@TheLeadCNN) February 9, 2018
Astute journalists tied the allegations against Porter to a general campaign and administration tolerance of violence.
— Clara Jeffery (@ClaraJeffery) February 8, 2018
Now Joe Biden has stepped up to the plate to make a statement about Trump’s awful and continued acceptance of abusers. Included in Trump’s statements today he said:
‘He says he’s innocent, and I think you have to remember that. He said very strongly yesterday that he’s innocent, so you’ll have to talk to him about that.’
The former vice president spoke up about the implications of Trump’s silence during a speech today:
Joe Biden responds to Pres. Trump's comments on Rob Porter: "Is there any other crime—and it's a crime—where there'd be an explanation, that the reason why we shouldn't pay attention to the transgression is because they're good at something?" https://t.co/1h9gdwyx57 pic.twitter.com/UPi5NAS3yi
— ABC News (@ABC) February 9, 2018
He directly addressed Trump’s wishing Porter well:
‘I just read before I walked on stage a statement from the president saying he wishes him luck and he has so much talent.’
How ridiculous is it that Trump exhibited sympathy and compassion not for any of the victims, but only the abuser? Biden then called attention to the ridiculousness of praising a violent person:
‘That’s like saying, “That axe murderer over there, he’s a great painter.”‘
And it’s not just the diversionary tactic that makes Trump’s statement on Porter so reprehensible. It’s the implication:
‘Translate this into every day terms. Is there any other crime, and it’s a crime, where there’d be an explanation that the reason why we shouldn’t pay attention to the transgression is because they’re good at something.’
After this speech, Biden made his thoughts about the Trump administration’s process of dealing with Porter:
Joe Biden on Rob Porter: "I can’t explain it. It's long past due that he left. If you just look at it from the perspective of one thing, the FBI didn’t think he should get a security clearance”
— Edward Hardy (@EdwardTHardy) February 9, 2018
Featured image: Kim Foster-Tobin/The State/MCT via Getty