Monday, 18 June, 2018

Lives being 'destroyed' by mere allegations

Pixabay  MGN Pixabay MGN
Judith Alexander | 12 February, 2018, 01:45

Trump vented in a tweet that appeared to take aim at the rising #MeToo movement about sexual abuse and echoed his own denials of sexual impropriety in the face of accusations from more than a dozen women.

Several of President Donald Trump's senior advisers fanned out on the Sunday morning talk shows to defend the response and seemingly to soften some of the president's comments.

Porter's two ex-wives claimed in an interview with CNN's MJ Lee that they experienced years of abuse from Porter, including incidents of physical violence, and said they detailed the allegations to the Federal Bureau of Investigation as the agency conducted a routine background check into Porter.

That stands in contrast to a Trump tweet the day before in which he lamented that people's lives were being ruined by "a mere allegation".

The White House chief of staff, John F Kelly, and the press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, staunchly defended Porter initially.

Conway also said that Trump had "come to the aid of many women privately". In a statement released Wednesday evening, Kelly said he was "shocked" by the "new allegations" against Porter. Porter denies the accusations. Some staffers who were at the meeting left feeling that Kelly had effectively asked them to lie on his behalf. On Friday night, another senior West Wing staffer, speechwriter David Sorensen, also resigned, following allegations that he had physically assaulted and terrorised his ex-wife.

At the very least, helping draft Kelly's statement demonstrates Hicks is unethical, if also not an enabler of an accused wife-beater.

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Conway, however, said Trump is "very disturbed" by Porter's alleged behavior, a remark that White House legislative affairs director Marc Short echoed on Sunday.

"As you probably know, he says he's innocent, and I think you have to remember that". Public pressure is one thing, but the White House has often proven itself to be impervious to it, through any number of highly controversial episodes that might have torn apart a previous administration.

Kelly, meanwhile, said the only other indication he had that something could be wrong came in November, when he got an update on pending background investigations and learned "there was some things that needed to be looked into".

In June 2016, Trump faced widespread backlash for alleging that US District Court Judge Gonzalo Curiel, who was then overseeing a lawsuit against Trump University, had "an inherent conflict of interest" due to his Mexican heritage and calling for his recusal in the case.

Trump confidant and former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski - who was formerly romantically involved with Hicks - pointed a finger of blame at former Marine corps general Kelly.

Trump on Friday offered praise for Porter.

"The result is that, one week ago, Rob Porter was a top aide to President Trump, and today he is out of the White House", she said. Porter said he would be resigning from his role at the White House shortly after and has called the allegations "outrageous" and "simply false". He defended him and attacked the women who made the allegations, He said they were complaining and saying terrible things about someone who had helped them.

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