Psaki: The defense of Rob Porter is indefensible

On Wednesday afternoon, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly ...

Posted: Feb 8, 2018 3:07 PM
Updated: Feb 8, 2018 3:07 PM

On Wednesday afternoon, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly described staff secretary Rob Porter as someone he was "proud to serve alongside," and White House press secretary Sarah Sanders described Porter as someone "of the highest integrity and exemplary character."

What prompted these glowing statements about a fellow colleague? Allegations were made public of emotional and physical abuse by both of Porter's ex-wives -- including photo evidence from his first wife, Colbie Holderness.

Either Kelly and Sanders were handed written statements that they blindly read or that is actually how they feel. Either option is unacceptable.

Porter was even allowed to put out his own statement, quite an accommodation from any employer, never mind the White House, for a reported abuser. (He has denied the allegations.)

So why has the White House bent over backward to defend him?

Here are some theories that some have advanced:

They were in shock. They didn't know how to handle such surprising allegations about a trusted colleague.

Nope. Kelly reportedly knew about these allegations back in the fall. And he allowed a man who faced allegations that he repeatedly abused his spouses to continue working in the people's house.

These allegations are coming from sources that just aren't credible.

No again. Both ex-wives, Jennifer Willoughby and Holderness, spoke on the record and in detail. Willoughby had filed a protective order against Porter and described her married life as "walking on eggshells" because of his anger.

And Holderness described an incident in detail from their honeymoon when he "wanted to have sex and kicked" her.

They are just defending their talented colleague.

That is just not going to fly. Who cares if Porter had multiple degrees and implemented Kelly's paper strategy? His ex-wives say he physically and emotionally abused them.

This White House has always lived by its own set of rules, whether it comes to ethics or transparency or even policy details.

But at a time when public officials ranging from movie network bosses to morning-show hosts are being forced out of their jobs, at a time when a group of young Olympic gymnasts had the courage to send their abuser to jail, and at a time when even among elected officials, accusations of sexual harassment have become career-ending -- the White House somehow isn't held to the same standards.

Kelly issued a late-night statement in a pool report Wednesday that included the universally agreed upon statement that "There is no place for domestic violence in our society" -- before quickly returning to a defense of Porter by reiterating that he stands by his "previous comments of the Rob Porter" that he had "come to know since becoming Chief of Staff, and believe every individual deserves the right to defend their reputation."

The White House has a lot more explaining to do.

Do they not believe the women?

What about the photos? If it wasn't Porter, then who was it?

Even if Kelly came around to accepting Porter's resignation, why is he still working there?

Why didn't Kelly fire him when he reportedly learned of the abuse allegations in the fall?

Right now the defense is not worse than Porter's actions, but it sure does feel indefensible.

Huntsville
Clear
64° wxIcon
Hi: 80° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 64°
Florence
Clear
66° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 66°
Fayetteville
Clear
61° wxIcon
Hi: 79° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 61°
Decatur
Clear
62° wxIcon
Hi: 81° Lo: 54°
Feels Like: 62°
Scottsboro
Scattered Clouds
59° wxIcon
Hi: 82° Lo: 56°
Feels Like: 59°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 17359

Reported Deaths: 618
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Mobile2191115
Jefferson1780102
Montgomery163238
Tuscaloosa73814
Marshall6879
Franklin5457
Lee54033
Shelby50319
Tallapoosa42364
Butler40217
Chambers35325
Walker3442
Elmore3398
Madison3274
Baldwin2839
Dallas2603
Morgan2511
Etowah24811
DeKalb2433
Lowndes23812
Coffee2291
Sumter2206
Autauga2164
Houston2094
Bullock2034
Pike1980
Colbert1782
Russell1670
Marengo1636
Lauderdale1612
Hale1598
Calhoun1543
Choctaw1518
Barbour1501
Wilcox1447
Clarke1422
Cullman1260
Randolph1257
Marion12111
St. Clair1181
Pickens1114
Dale1100
Talladega1093
Chilton1001
Limestone940
Greene944
Winston880
Covington771
Jackson772
Crenshaw763
Macon754
Henry742
Bibb721
Washington686
Blount611
Escambia573
Lawrence480
Geneva400
Conecuh391
Coosa381
Monroe372
Perry370
Cherokee373
Clay272
Lamar230
Fayette150
Cleburne141
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 22566

Reported Deaths: 364
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Davidson504062
Shelby4943111
Trousdale13924
Rutherford119623
Sumner88145
Hamilton79415
Bledsoe6071
Williamson55210
Putnam4795
Robertson4653
Tipton4423
Out of TN4184
Lake4140
Wilson4078
Knox3755
Bedford2834
Montgomery2693
Rhea2100
Hardeman1960
Madison1752
Loudon1430
McMinn14114
Macon1363
Cheatham1230
Bradley1221
Fayette1152
Cumberland1121
Dickson1090
Unassigned920
Blount913
Maury890
Sevier812
Washington750
Coffee730
Wayne640
Gibson631
Monroe622
Sullivan602
Hickman580
Lauderdale561
Franklin531
Greene502
Dyer500
Marion401
Anderson401
DeKalb370
Hamblen362
Smith341
White330
Hawkins332
Lawrence310
Grundy311
Haywood312
Marshall311
Obion301
Henry300
Jefferson280
Carroll271
Overton260
Meigs260
Weakley260
Lincoln250
Warren230
Cannon210
Perry210
Cocke200
Carter191
Campbell181
Morgan170
Jackson170
Crockett162
Roane160
Polk160
Johnson160
Henderson150
Hardin152
Sequatchie150
Humphreys131
Fentress120
McNairy120
Chester120
Giles120
Scott120
Stewart110
Claiborne90
Houston80
Grainger80
Clay70
Benton71
Decatur50
Unicoi40
Union40
Van Buren40
Lewis30
Pickett30
Moore30
Hancock10

 

 

Community Events