(Getty/Chip Somodevilla)

Ex-wife of former White House aide Rob Porter blasts Donald Trump

Trump has privately condemned Porter as "sick" but continues to defend him publicly to save face


Charlie May
February 12, 2018 3:33PM (UTC)

Conflicting narratives about the domestic allegations regarding President Donald Trump's former staff secretary Rob Porter have been spewing from the White House since last week, and it's still unclear where exactly the president stands. One of Porter's ex-wives, however, offered a more sobering anecdote in an op-ed in which she wrote, "the truth exists whether the president accepts it or not."

"On Friday, a friend and I watched as the president of the United States sat in the Oval Office and praised the work of my ex-husband, Rob Porter, and wished him future success," Jennie Willoughby, one of Porter's ex-wives who has accused him of domestic abuse, wrote for Time. "I can’t say I was surprised."

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"But when Donald Trump repeated twice that Rob declared his innocence, I was floored," she continued. "What was his intent in emphasizing that point? My friend turned to me and said, 'The president of the United States just called you a liar.'"

She added, "Yes. And so he did."

Trump's position in public has been reported to be in stark contrast from his feelings on Porter behind closed doors. Trump has told multiple people that he believes Porter's two ex-wives, and "sick," is how the president has described him, according to Axios.

The president's public remarks have been anything but sincere, nor did they express solidarity towards the victims of abuse. It shows that the president is willing to come to the defense of any of his male allies, despite his true feelings on the given scandal. Four sources who spoke directly with Trump also told Axios that the president loathes the #MeToo movement and sees it as an attack on chief executives that result in lawsuits.

Trump's refrain from public condemnation even got him in trouble with the host of his favorite television show, Brian Kilmeade of "Fox & Friends."

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Some White House officials are also reportedly baffled and unclear where Trump actually stands on the issue.

But, as Willoughby wrote, "the issue here is deeper than whether Trump, or General John Kelly, or Sarah Huckabee Sanders, or Senator Orrin Hatch, or Hope Hicks, or whether anyone else believes me or defends Rob."

She added, "Society as a whole has a fear of addressing our worst secrets. (Just ask any African-American citizen). It’s as if we have a societal blind spot that creates an obstacle to understanding. Society as a whole doesn’t acknowledge the reality of abuse."

"The tendency to avoid, deny, or cover up abuse is never really about power, or money, or an old boys’ club. It is deeper than that. Rather than embarrass an abuser, society is subconsciously trained to question a victim of abuse," Willoughby continued.

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Of course, the president himself stands accused of sexual harassment, or other misconduct, by at least 18 women. In the days after the Porter scandal, the White House has miserably failed at performing damage control and has only dug a deeper hole. Chief of Staff John Kelly has been caught in the middle, as it's been reported that he knew for months Porter couldn't obtain a security clearance and not only did nothing but made the case for him to stay on board.


Charlie May

Charlie May is a news writer at Salon. You can find him on Twitter at @charliejmay

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