WEATHER AUTHORITY : Excessive Heat Warning - Heat Advisory View Alerts

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.

Cases: 341862

Reported Deaths: 7533
CountyCasesDeaths
Hinds23783441
DeSoto23180283
Harrison20365329
Rankin15307290
Jackson15087251
Madison10917227
Lee10674179
Jones8969169
Forrest8621159
Lauderdale7839243
Lowndes7016151
Lamar696289
Lafayette6535124
Washington5589139
Pearl River5141152
Bolivar4949134
Oktibbeha491698
Panola4766112
Warren4709127
Marshall4691106
Pontotoc446273
Union432579
Monroe4322137
Neshoba4268181
Hancock423788
Lincoln4171116
Pike3650113
Leflore3619125
Tate352888
Alcorn349574
Sunflower347194
Adams340588
Scott340176
Yazoo338575
Copiah323468
Simpson322090
Itawamba314180
Coahoma313385
Tippah304768
Prentiss297863
Covington291883
Leake284675
Marion283681
Wayne276143
George270551
Grenada268888
Newton261564
Tishomingo239370
Winston236584
Jasper229548
Attala225973
Stone225337
Chickasaw218760
Holmes199274
Clay196754
Clarke186280
Tallahatchie183742
Calhoun181232
Smith178935
Yalobusha171340
Walthall145348
Lawrence141626
Greene139734
Amite136943
Noxubee134835
Perry133238
Montgomery132244
Carroll125931
Webster121032
Jefferson Davis116234
Tunica113427
Benton106225
Claiborne105031
Kemper102329
Humphreys100133
Franklin87723
Quitman84619
Choctaw82319
Wilkinson77732
Jefferson71128
Sharkey51618
Issaquena1736
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 577463

Reported Deaths: 11510
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson841981589
Mobile47171860
Madison37047533
Tuscaloosa26915465
Shelby26873256
Montgomery25918625
Baldwin24499328
Lee16949181
Calhoun15252332
Morgan15017290
Etowah14778370
Marshall12933235
Houston11774292
Elmore10761217
St. Clair10617252
Limestone10574158
Cullman10363205
Lauderdale10083254
DeKalb9382191
Talladega8836188
Walker7681287
Autauga7479114
Jackson7317117
Blount7266139
Colbert6635142
Coffee6163132
Dale5453117
Russell470642
Chilton4682117
Covington4649125
Franklin450081
Tallapoosa4440156
Escambia427882
Chambers3898125
Dallas3717163
Clarke367763
Marion3427106
Pike327879
Lawrence3225101
Winston294973
Bibb284565
Geneva276383
Marengo259967
Barbour246261
Pickens240062
Butler238272
Hale232778
Fayette225264
Henry209245
Monroe197241
Randolph196744
Cherokee196348
Washington180139
Macon168752
Crenshaw165558
Clay163759
Cleburne160245
Lamar149938
Lowndes144854
Wilcox130531
Bullock126142
Conecuh119630
Coosa116929
Perry109928
Sumter109032
Greene98736
Choctaw64325
Out of AL00
Unassigned00
Tupelo
Clear
91° wxIcon
Hi: 97° Lo: 75°
Feels Like: 100°
Columbus
Clear
86° wxIcon
Hi: 97° Lo: 74°
Feels Like: 101°
Oxford
Clear
86° wxIcon
Hi: 95° Lo: 72°
Feels Like: 95°
Starkville
Clear
90° wxIcon
Hi: 96° Lo: 73°
Feels Like: 102°
Friday we will see the hottest and most humid day of the week. We will see many areas top off in the 105 to 115 degree heat index. Some areas will approach 120. Very little chances for some isolated showers and thunderstorms for the late portion of the afternoon.
WTVA Radar
WTVA Temperatures
WTVA Severe Weather