TrumpWatch, Day 387: Trump Defends Ex-Staffers Dismissed Over Domestic Abuse Claims

Donald Trump and White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter, Bedminister, New Jersey, August 12, 2017

Trump: “Peoples lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation.”

Developments on Day 387:

Trump Remarks Add to Controversy Over Attitudes Towards Women

Donald Trump uses Twitter for an apparent defense of two White House staff forced out over claims of domestic abuse.

The White House has been trying to limit the damage from its handling of the case of Rob Porter, a key member of the Chief of Staff’s office who finally departed on Wednesday. The Trump Administration knew of the claims by Porter’s two ex-wives from January 2017, but took no action and passed the matter to the FBI. When the agency reported in November that the allegations were credible, meaning Porter could not receive a security clearance, the White House still refrained from any steps to limit the aide’s role.

In an apparent attempt to stem further criticism, the White House announced the departure of speechwriter David Sorensen on Friday, amid an ex-wife’s claims of abuse.

In contrast to the new White House approach — and undermining spin from officials about his anger over the Porter affair — Trump gave effusive praise to the dismissed staffer on Friday. Then on Saturday, he tweeted:

The message reverted to the initial White House support of Porter last week. Chief of Staff John Kelly described him as “a man of true integrity and honor”. Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump had “full confidence” in Porter’s performance.

Criticism over the apparent shielding of Porter, with one ex-wife posting photos of her bruised face, eroded the defenses. After Porter’s resignation, factions within the White House turned on each other. One group, possibly around Ivanka Trump, targeted Kelly with claims that he had lied about the case as recently as Tuesday and that he was now offering to resign. The Chief of Staff said on Friday that he had made no such offer, although he would go if Donald Trump made the request.

By feeding the controversy, Trump’s latest statements could also add to the damage of his record over sexual harassment and abuse. Trump has been publicly accused by at least 15 women of inappropriate sexual behavior, claims bolstered by Trump’s boasting of video of his ability to sexually harass and intimidate women.

Trump has also defended allies who have been accused of sexual harassment, such as Roy Moore, the judge who ran for Senate in an Alabama special election in December.

In a surprise defeat for the GOP, Moore lost the ballot to Democrat Doug Jones.

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Scott Lucas is Professor of International Politics at the University of Birmingham and editor-in-chief of EA WorldView. He is a specialist in US and British foreign policy and international relations, especially the Middle East and Iran. Formerly he worked as a journalist in the US, writing for newspapers including the Guardian and The Independent and was an essayist for The New Statesman before he founded EA WorldView in November 2008.


  1. US police spied on Muslims, African Americans:

    Racial and religious minorities, along with the poor and homeless, face mass surveillance, discrimination and oppression in the United States where they are specifically targeted by police for arrest, with hundreds being killed by officers in the streets each year, and many more through abuse and neglect in custody.

    The United States Government and local authorities deny this, claiming that they always respect the human rights of all citizens and that these accusations are just propaganda made by the Chinese and others.

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