From The Washington Post:
This afternoon, President Trump finally commented on the rising scandal over Rob Porter, the now-former White House staff secretary who has been accused of domestic violence by both of his ex-wives.
“He says he’s innocent, and I think you have to remember that,” said the president, who takes men’s protestations of innocence over allegations like this very, very seriously. “We absolutely wish him well.”
This is a somewhat unusual scandal in that it doesn’t seem to involve Trump himself doing something corrupt, despicable or bizarre. But it is nonetheless a very Trumpian scandal, in that it provides a window into so much of the pathology that Trump has created in his administration.
Let’s begin with this question: If you work for Trump, what gets you fired? Do multiple, credible accusations of wife-beating do it? Well, no. Top White House officials knew for months of the allegations against Porter, and not only didn’t get rid of him — they gave him more responsibility. As The Post reports, White House Counsel Don McGahn knew about the domestic violence allegations a full year ago, and chief of staff John Kelly found out at least as long ago as last fall. Deputy chief of staff Joe Hagin also reportedly knew last fall about the allegations. There may well be others who knew as well.
Those allegations — and the fact that they could potentially be used to blackmail him — were the reason that Porter’s security clearance was being held up. Yet McGahn and Kelly not only didn’t see it as a problem, they were eager for Porter to stay on, apparently because he was a competent employee, something that is unusually rare in this White House. Kelly initially urged Porter to stay, and earlier this week called him “a man of true integrity and honor,” despite the fact that, as Politico reports, “Kelly had been aware for several weeks that Porter would never receive a full security clearance due to a protective order that had been filed against him by an ex-wife in 2010.”