Trump breaks week-long silence on domestic violence with perfunctory statement

President Trump broke his silence on issues of domestic violence during a meeting with local elected officials, entrepreneurs, and investors at the White House on Wednesday. The remarks were in response to an ongoing controversy over recently departed Staff Secretary Rob Porter, who has been accused by two ex-wives of verbal, emotional, and physical abuse.

“I am totally opposed to domestic violence, and everybody here knows that,” he told reporters. “I am totally opposed to domestic violence of any kind. Everyone knows that. It almost wouldn’t even have to be said. So, now you hear it, but you all know it.”

The tepid statement avoided commenting specifically on the women allegedly abused by Rob Porter.

The comments came more than one week after controversy erupted.

The Daily Mail first published the allegations against Porter on February 6, prompting Porter to resign his post, but not before White House chief of staff John Kelly defended him, calling him “a man of true integrity and honor” and counseling him to stay on in his role. Kelly later backtracked, saying he was not aware of the full extent of the allegations until The Intercept published photos of Porter’s first wife with a black eye on February 7. Reports have since revealed that Kelly may have known about the allegations as early as last summer, when the FBI completed their background investigation. The FBI closed their investigation in January. Porter had been operating on an interim security clearance since January 2017.

The House Oversight Committee has launched an investigation into the allegations against Porter. Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) sent letters to both Kelly and FBI Director Christopher Wray on Wednesday, pushing them for answers about Porter’s background check, as well as who knew what, and when.

Trump had been tight-lipped on the subject until Wednesday. The president’s personal and official Twitter accounts, typically a hotbed of activity, were also devoid of any mention about domestic abuse or Porter’s accusers.

On the rare occasion that Trump has spoken about the claims, he has chosen to focus his sympathy on Porter himself: on February 9, Trump batted away questions about the allegations, telling reporters, “[Porter]…as you probably know, says he’s innocent and I think you have to remember that. He said very strongly yesterday that he’s innocent so you have to talk to him about that.” One day later, Trump tweeted that “lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation,” and that there was “no recovery for someone falsely accused.”

“Life and career are gone,” he wrote. “Is there no such thing any longer as Due Process?”

While the tweet was seen as an ardent defense of Porter, Mick Mulvaney, director of the Office of Management and Budget, claimed that the president may have been referring to real estate mogul and former RNC finance chair Steve Wynn, who has been accused by dozens of women of sexual misconduct. Wynn has denied the claims.

Author: Melanie Schmitz

Author: administrator