Why would they even try to cover up for a cad like this?
The cad in question would be Rob Porter, White House staff secretary.
Porter is the latest to leave the Trump White House, after reports that he was emotionally and physically abusive to two of his wives.
In the meantime, the White House, knowing the reports were about to break, scrambled to find a way to defend him.
President Donald Trump’s chief of staff John Kelly and press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders pushed back on the accusations, advancing a narrative that Porter was not just an honorable person but also indispensable to the West Wing’s operations.
By Wednesday morning, however, events had begun overtaking spin. The White House convened several small meetings to determine what was to be done about “Porter-gate,” as one senior White House official said. Among the options weighed included having Porter leave the White House, allowing him to weather the fallout, or encouraging him to take “some time off,” the official said.
The ”out of sight, out of mind” defense?
They eventually determined that Porter should just resign, but Kelly attempted to convince him to stay put.
So what is he accused of doing?
The saga began with a Daily Mail piece published on Tuesday evening that reported on allegations of routine domestic abuse by Porter’s first wife, Colbie Holderness. “He was verbally, emotionally and physically abusive and that is why I left,” she told the Mail, which previously reported on Porter’s romantic relationship with White House communications director Hope Hicks. “He was angry because we weren’t having sex when he wanted to have sex and he kicked me,” Holderness recalled. “It seems such a juvenile thing at the time, but I remember thinking about words my mother had told me when it happened.”
In a separate story, the Daily Mail reported that Porter’s second wife, Jennifer Willoughby, said she was “walking on eggshells” during their marriage due to Porter’s short temper.
He sounds like a nasty, mean guy.
Speaking of which, is Hope Hicks just naturally predisposed to give herself to abusive men? She was also linked to the vicious niblet, Corey Lewandowski, during the election.
Somebody go check on Hope Hicks.
And while people like Kelly, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and Senator Orrin Hatch have all vouched for Porter’s character and professionalism, photos tell a different story.
A reporter for The Intercept posted pictures of Porter’s first wife, Holderness, after what she said was an assault while on a trip to Italy.
Senior White House aide Rob Porter physically assaulted two ex-wives, they tell @theintercept. Full story to come in the morning.
His first wife, Colbie Holderness, provided these photos from a vacation they took together in Florence, Italy: pic.twitter.com/tl3TbyGA8Y
— Ryan Grim (@ryangrim) February 7, 2018
Both of Porter’s ex-wives were interviewed by the FBI, in preparation for his security clearance last year.
Porter answered the claims against him, denying everything, and referring to them as “outrageous”:
“[T]he reality behind them is nowhere close to what is being described,” he added. “I have been transparent and truthful about these vile claims, but I will not further engage publicly with a coordinated smear campaign.” Porter did not respond to The Daily Beast’s follow-up inquiry regarding what the “reality behind them is nowhere close to what is being described” even means.
Yeah, I’d like to know what the “reality” is, as well. The pictures look pretty real.
Another report is that Porter did not have full security clearance. So how did he do his job?
Porter had been playing an increasingly sizeable role in hour-to-hour operations and policy discussions inside the West Wing. Colleagues, former and current, said that his ascendancy was in part due to the fact that the president’s inner circle had been starved for actual in-house policy minds.
He was also helpful to John Kelly. One of his main duties was to control the flow of paperwork to Trump’s desk, acting as a filter to keep out the far right, nutjob conspiracy stories that tend to get him worked up and in a Twitter froth.
It was an initiative that routinely chafed the impulsive and stubborn president. According to two White House sources, Trump would bristle at Porter when he entered the Oval Office with large stacks of documents for the president to sign. Before long, Porter became synonymous in Trump’s mind with the mundane clerical work that his staffer would pile upon the Resolute Desk.
“Oh, here we go,” Trump would often sneer at Porter, papers in tow, as the president noticeably rolled his eyes before grabbing a pen.
So, at least one person will be happy today.