March 22, 2018

Trump defends Hicks as Porter fallout continues

11 February 2018, 02:00 | Taylor George

Donald Trump. Olivier Douliery-Pool Getty Images

Donald Trump

Trump praised Rob Porter's work as White House staff secretary and said he hopes the former aide goes on to a successful career elsewhere. And we hope he has a wonderful career and he will have a great career ahead of him.

Trump noted that Porter has denied the allegations of domestic abuse leveled by two of his ex-wives.

"I can tell you that some of the women that are complaining - I know how much he's helped them, and even recently, " Trump said on NBC's "Meet The Press" in July 2016.

Routinely, Trump has accepted claims of innocence from men facing similar allegations, including Fox News head Roger Ailes, anchor Bill O'Reilly and former Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, who was accused of inappropriate contact with teenage girls. He says it didn't happen. He also alleged she attempted to block the driveway to prevent him from driving away after she had punched him in the face repeatedly after a fight, forcing him to pull the auto forward over the lawn, and that she ran after the vehicle and injured herself in the process. 'And there's no tolerance in this White House and no place in America for domestic abuse'.

The White House's stumbling response to this week's allegations against Porter again have plunged the West Wing into chaos. A background check for security clearance was in progress at the time of his resignation. One document reportedly details a police officer telling McCormack, an organizer of the rally, that he would try to prevent McCormack's identity from being revealed in a public records request.

White House spokesman Raj Shah said Thursday that the White House "could have done better" over the last few days in "dealing with" the domestic violence allegations against Porter. "We immediately confronted the staffer, he denied the allegations and he resigned today".

Florida Rep. Lois Frankel, chairwoman of the Democratic Women's Working Group, posted on Facebook Friday that the White House staff should be held to the highest ethical standards. His position did not require security clearance and his background check hadn't been completed by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, administration officials said. During part of their marriage, he was a top policy adviser to Republican Maine Gov. Paul LePage. Sorensen, too, has denied that he physically harmed his former partner.

Two friends and associates of Corbett said she told them her husband was abusive.

The Washington Post first reported Sorensen's resignation Friday evening, and reported that his ex-wife, Jessica Corbett, alleged that "he ran a vehicle over her foot, put out a cigarette on her hand, threw her into a wall and grasped her menacingly by her hair while they were alone on their boat in remote waters off Maine's coast, an incident she said left her fearing for her life". She also provided the Post with text messages and emails in which Sorensen berated her and showed the newspaper a photo of a scar from the alleged cigarette burn.

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In another incident, Corbett allegedly grabbed the steering wheel as Sorensen drove on a highway and punched him in the face during an argument.

"How do you know those bruises weren't there before?"

But this is not the first time the White House has found itself in the middle of the #MeToo moment.

A second White House official resigned amid abuse allegations from a former wife. But their public support for Porter quickly evaporated, once a photo surfaced showing one of his ex-wives with a black eye.

Porter was staff secretary to the president, a position with wide authority over schedule and information flow to the Oval Office.

"The lives of survivors of sexual assault and domestic abuse are being shattered every day".

Trump said he was not aware of the claims before this week's news reports.

'It was very sad when we heard about it and certainly he's also very sad'. Kelly also said Trump had since "evolved" on the issue.

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