PRESIDENT Donald Trump yet again exonerates a supporter accused of abuse against women. This time it’s White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter.
Porter resigned this week after allegations against him were made public by his former wives, Colbie Holderness and Jennifer Willoughby, after they reportedly contributed to a delay in granting him a permanent security clearance required for him to continue his work in the West Wing.
As the New York Times (NYT) reported, Mr. Porter vehemently denied these allegations, saying “these allegations are simply false,” despite details of the alleged physical, verbal and emotional abuse, including actual photographs of one of his former wives with a black eye, had been made public.
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly said in a statement he was shocked by the new allegations released against Porter, the 40-year-old Harvard-graduate rising star in the White House, who Kelly in recent months, has reportedly leaned heavily on in his efforts to bring order to a chaotic West Wing.
Kelly described Porter “a man of true integrity.”
“He is a friend, a confidant and a trusted professional,” Kelly said in the NYT report. “I am proud to serve alongside him.”
Kelly stressed, “There is no place for domestic violence in our society. I stand by my previous comments of the Rob Porter that I have come to know since becoming chief of staff, and believe every individual deserves the right to defend their reputation. I accepted his resignation earlier today, and will ensure a swift and orderly transition.”
Permanent security clearances are obtained after the FBI investigations and the background checks have cleared a prospective White House staff members for anything in their part that may compromise their integrity and independence in the way they handle sensitive top-security information in the White House. Moreover, the FBI needs to investigate to make sure these appointees could not be vulnerable to blackmail because of incriminating information on the sins of the past (and present).
As the NYT reported, Porter handles a very important job in the White House, detailing: “Porter is responsible for paper flow to the president, a job of crucial importance in the Trump administration. He frequently travels with President Trump on Air Force One, and he helped write Mr. Trump’s first State of the Union address last month.”
This case begs answers to pressing questions as to when, what, and how much information about these allegations of domestic abuse against Porter were relayed to the Chief of Staff, including the fact that Porter also had an emergency protective order filed against him in June 2010 against him in an Arlington, Va., court by his second wife Ms. Jennifer Willoughby.
How could Kelly be as shocked and surprised as he claimed? He was reportedly been briefed by the FBI about this information last November that was why Porter could not be issued a permanent security clearance. And what and when did Trump really know about this? How could Porter continue to work in the White House despite his failure to obtain the required permanent security clearance?
And what does this Porter fiasco tell about the president and his men? How easily could they absolve the people of their kind of their sins — Porter, Moore, O’Reilly, etc., — and even defend them as though the female accusers were all liars and that these powerful men were the victims here? Not surprising, considering the fact that President Donald J. Trump himself has been accused by multiple women of sexual misconduct and assault.
Where is the moral leader in the White House? Where is that role model of the nation? Shouldn’t the president of the United States be that person?
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Gel Santos Relos is the anchor of TFC’s “Balitang America.” Views and opinions expressed by the author in this column are solely those of the author and not of Asian Journal and ABS-CBN-TFC. For comments, go to www.TheFil-AmPerspective.com, https://www.facebook.com/Gel.Santos.Relos