On Wednesday, we learned that during a 2017 background check for the former White House staff secretary Rob Porter, his two ex-wives both told the F.B.I. that he had abused them
- His first wife, Colbie Holderness, gave the F.B.I. a photo of her with a black eye, a result, she said, of Porter punching her in the face during a vacation in 2005.
- Porter’s second wife, Jennifer Willoughby, shared a 2010 emergency protective order she’d received after he punched in the glass on her door while they were separated.
.. The White House chief of staff John Kelly reportedly knew about these allegations, which are said to be the reason the F.B.I. never gave Porter a full security clearance,
.. Porter’s past was apparently not considered a problem inside the White House until it became public. This tells us quite a bit about how seriously this administration takes violence against women.
.. Kelly reportedly urged Porter not to resign
.. President Trump’s press secretary Sarah Sanders read a statement from Porter calling his ex-wives’ accounts “simply false” and part of a “coordinated smear campaign.”
.. In what was perhaps a rare outbreak of candor by omission, she didn’t bother with a pro forma statement that the White House condemns domestic violence.
.. “I was exposed to a far wider array of classified and sensitive information in the White House job than as the top lawyer at the National Security Agency,”
.. It’s hard to see why Kelly, who was supposed to be the disciplined adult in this administration, would cover for Porter. Unless, that is, he genuinely couldn’t grasp that domestic violence is a big deal.
.. the abuse charges were the origin of Trump’s derisive nickname for Bannon: “Bam Bam.”
.. Andy Puzder, the former head of Carl’s Jr. and Trump’s first nominee for labor secretary.
.. Trump himself was accused of domestic assault by his first wife, Ivana Trump
.. Hurt wrote that Donald Trump became enraged after scalp reduction surgery left him in pain, and blamed his then-wife, who had recommended the doctor.
.. Hurt describes Trump pinning back Ivana’s arms and ripping out her hair by the handful “as if he is trying to make her feel the same kind of pain that he is feeling.” Then, she told friends, Trump raped her.
.. Willoughby described confiding in a Mormon official about her husband’s fits of rage. She was told to think about how Porter’s career might suffer if she spoke out. Powerful people in Washington seem to have been similarly worried, first and foremost, about protecting the ambitious and pedigreed young man.
.. Senator Orrin G. Hatch, Republican of Utah, and in The Daily Mail, the senator categorically dismissed the accusations and, whether he meant to or not, the women making them.
.. “Shame on any publication that would print this — and shame on the politically motivated, morally bankrupt character assassins that would attempt to sully a man’s good name,” he said.
.. Later, after the black-eye photograph of Holderness was published, Hatch issued a statement saying that domestic violence is “abhorrent.” But after that, he gave an interview in which he said he hoped Porter would “keep a stiff upper lip” and not resign. “If I could find more people like him, I would hire them,” said Hatch
.. It’s not really a surprise that Hatch, who once said that Trump’s presidency could become the greatest ever, would treat serious allegations of abusing women as a personal foible unrelated to one’s professional capabilities. You basically have to see things that way to support Trump in the first place.
asked respondents whether they believed that Trump “probably has or has not made unwanted sexual advances toward women.” Sixty-eight per cent of registered voters believed that he had; only fourteen per cent believed that he had not. Forty-three per cent of likely voters in the poll said that they would vote for Trump, suggesting that a significant portion of Trump’s supporters think that he’s lying, and do not care.
.. Even in his denials, Trump is acting like Trump, offering a string of epithets and diminishments that reinforce the idea that preying on women is a normal thing to do. It seems entirely clear that these allegations disturb Trump only because they inconvenience him. He has not once spoken about the matter as if he understands that groping women, in itself, is wrong.
.. That makes twenty-four women who have corroborated Trump’s own boasting, twenty of whom have offered up their identities.
.. consider the time he told ABC that he had advised his friends to “be rougher” with their wives
.. This isn’t sexual misconduct as much as it is the language of a man who doesn’t believe that such a thing really exists.
.. Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, said that, “by the very definition, you can’t rape your spouse,” and then he threatened revenge over the story.
.. As Trump has done, Cohen refuted an allegation of sexual violence in an alarming tone that immediately brings sexual violence to mind. “What I’m going to do to you is going to be fucking disgusting,” he said.
.. he worked with many of his accusers, and even the witness produced by Trump’s campaign to discredit Leeds—a man who, by the way, once boasted about arranging underage sex parties for politicians—acknowledged that Leeds and Trump were sitting next to each other on the plane.
.. At the Greensboro rally, he addressed Leeds’s story in a similar manner: she wasn’t hot enough to be preyed on. “Believe me, she would not be my first choice,”
.. He and his team have repeatedly defended themselves by invoking the idea that women with assault stories are looking for “some free fame,” as Trump said at the Greensboro rally, or “free publicity,” as Hope Hicks said about Kristin Anderson. Trump raised the issue again at Wednesday night’s debate, saying that the accusers had been brought forward by the Clinton campaign to enjoy their “ten minutes of fame,” as if any person could possibly find this enjoyable.
.. He has even seemed to imply that most accusations of sexual misconduct are dubious. “I don’t think they’d happen with very many people,”