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.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 30674

Reported Deaths: 1107
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Hinds248039
DeSoto157216
Madison129634
Jones112049
Neshoba98571
Rankin91612
Lauderdale90879
Harrison88610
Forrest86042
Scott77015
Jackson61616
Copiah60216
Washington5789
Leake57519
Holmes55141
Lee54718
Wayne54213
Oktibbeha54126
Warren51118
Yazoo5056
Leflore48651
Lowndes48312
Grenada4795
Lamar4567
Lincoln45434
Pike43112
Monroe39930
Lafayette3894
Sunflower3737
Attala35923
Covington3475
Panola3456
Newton3399
Bolivar33414
Adams31018
Simpson3103
Pontotoc2836
Tate27810
Chickasaw27618
Marion27511
Claiborne27010
Jasper2616
Noxubee2618
Winston2596
Pearl River25432
Clay24910
Marshall2263
Smith22011
Union2079
Clarke20624
Walthall2004
Coahoma1996
Kemper17814
Lawrence1741
Yalobusha1717
Carroll16411
Humphreys1479
Tallahatchie1364
Itawamba1358
Montgomery1312
Tippah13011
Calhoun1294
Hancock12613
Webster12510
Jefferson Davis1114
Prentiss1083
Jefferson1073
Greene1058
Tunica1003
Wilkinson949
Amite892
George863
Tishomingo781
Quitman760
Choctaw744
Alcorn682
Perry664
Stone641
Franklin452
Sharkey350
Benton340
Issaquena91
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Confirmed Cases: 41362

Reported Deaths: 983
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Jefferson4944152
Montgomery4021103
Mobile4005134
Tuscaloosa222642
Marshall170210
Lee135937
Madison13597
Shelby122723
Morgan10715
Walker91424
Elmore90314
Franklin88914
Dallas8799
Baldwin8469
Etowah72713
DeKalb7075
Butler62428
Chambers62427
Tallapoosa58869
Autauga58312
Russell5450
Unassigned50323
Lauderdale4896
Limestone4810
Houston4794
Lowndes46721
Cullman4394
Pike4205
Colbert3916
Coffee3732
Bullock36810
St. Clair3662
Covington3547
Barbour3472
Escambia3376
Calhoun3325
Hale31021
Talladega3037
Marengo30211
Wilcox2908
Sumter28412
Dale2820
Clarke2736
Jackson2682
Winston2543
Chilton2392
Monroe2342
Blount2301
Pickens2276
Marion21913
Conecuh2047
Randolph2009
Choctaw19512
Bibb1871
Macon1859
Greene1838
Perry1701
Henry1323
Crenshaw1253
Lawrence1070
Washington1057
Cherokee857
Geneva790
Lamar751
Fayette681
Clay642
Coosa581
Cleburne361
Out of AL00
Tupelo
Clear
77° wxIcon
Hi: 92° Lo: 73°
Feels Like: 78°
Columbus
Few Clouds
72° wxIcon
Hi: 91° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 72°
Oxford
Broken Clouds
72° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 70°
Feels Like: 72°
Starkville
Broken Clouds
70° wxIcon
Hi: 89° Lo: 68°
Feels Like: 70°
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather