Rob Porter: Yet Another Example Of Trump Taking The Wrong Side

Anyone who argues that this White House has respect for women has a lot to account for.

In an exasperating turn, evidence surfaced that the White House has reliable reports from the FBI about Rob Porter’s history of domestic assault as early as May of last year. His security clearance was only granted on an interim basis, which means that for more than half of Porter’s time in the White House, everyone knew and no one was talking.

I guess this shouldn’t shock me. The President’s record has been to side with abusers at every opportunity. Even the reprehensible behavior of Roy Moore did not earn the President’s ire. He believes in due process, in not letting allegations interfere with someone’s career before all the facts have come to light.

What uncertainty the President sees with regard to these allegations eludes me. Is it not enough that both of Porter’s ex-wives have come forward with accounts of his consistent physical and emotional abuse? Is the photo of Colbie Holderness’s bruised and swollen eye, which Porter freely admits he took, insufficient? What would live up to the President’s high bar for evidence? Apparently not Porter’s own admission in January of last year that he expected his ex-wives to “raise issues.”

While I’ll agree with the President that false allegations really can ruin a career unjustly, is he seriously making the argument that Porter made up lies about himself? And if not, then why did this information about him fall on deaf ears?

Because no one at the White House cares if people abuse women. They are so caught up in partisan squabbling, palace politics, corruption and scandal they will take the most flawed candidates so long as they are willing to toe the line and keep their mouths shut. When this scandal broke, Rob Porter was up for a promotion for crying out loud.

While I’m ranting, let’s talk about the absolute butchery of the term “due process” in the President’s tweet.  Because ‘due process’ refers to a legal procedure whereby guilt cannot be determined without a public trial, not whether someone’s past patterns of behavior disqualify them for employment. As it happens, no one is pressing charges against Rob Porter, which makes ‘due process’ just about as bizarre a term I can imagine invoking in his defense.

Let’s not get it twisted - Rob Porter ruined his own career.

What has been presented is a clear catalogue of Porter’s tendency to turn to violence when the women in his life have upset him. Like the time he kicked his first wife on their honeymoon, or berated his second wife on their honeymoon for not having enough sex with him. And while none of that behavior qualifies Rob Porter for prison, it certainly disqualifies him from being a policymaker at the White House.

The mechanisms of power in the White House either do not believe women when they offer evidence of abuse, or else they do not take the abuse of women seriously.

Let me offer an example that removes some of the more pernicious, womanish aspects of this story for the Republican reader. Let’s say I, a regular Man, am employed at the White House. Let’s say I perform my job at the White House well enough, people like me, and John Kelly says I’m “ a man of true integrity and honor.” There’s just one problem - I just can’t stop kicking dogs. There are multiple accounts of this, lots of people have seen me do it. I’m a great guy, but I just have a really bad habit of kicking dogs. Would you be able to look past that fact and trust that I am of sober and competent mind to be advising the President on issues of national importance? Or would you see me as an unstable person who kicks dogs?

Whether Rob Porter is good at his job or had a promising career is of no consequence. He is an unstable abuser, and that disqualifies him from running a banana stand, much less helping an already morally dubious West Wing craft policy.

I think the aspect of this story that has troubled me most is that Rob Porter has quit and no one in the White House will acknowledge that he was a bad hombre. Well, no one except Sarah Huckabee-Sanders who, with what can only be characterized as scorn and derision, delivered this statement: “The president supports victims of domestic violence and believes everyone should be treated fairly and with due process.”  

He supports victims of domestic violence! Oh goody gosh, what a thing to say.

She should have clarified that he supports victims of domestic violence insofar as the law is able to punish their abusers but that for the silent majority of women who suffer abuse he sides with their abusers because, you know, due process. He thinks it’s so unfair that these women come forward, years later, just to ruin the careers of men who beat and assaulted them.

Of course he does. Lest we forget that the President has a substantial catalogue of sexual misconduct in his past, and wouldn’t it be so terribly unfair if that came home to roost. I guess if it ever does, he already has a reliable cover-up squad in place.

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