Yet another scandal is gripping the White House as yet another prominent member of the Trump administration has been forced to resign in disgrace for his appalling behavior.
This time, the man is Staff Secretary Rob Porter, who abruptly quit after his ex-wife publicly accused him of heinous acts of abuse against her while they were married.
To make matters worse, Chief of Staff John Kelly had been aware of the allegations when he was hired and even urged him to stay after his ex-wife Jennifer Willoughby went public with his disturbing past.
Now it’s become clear that the full scope of Porter’s crimes has been well-known for some time now – and that makes Kelly and Trump’s enablement of Porter all the more reprehensible.
Willoughby published a heartbreaking blog post in April 2017 about her life with Porter that offers a terrifying look into the insidious nature of abuse, the difficulties that face women trying to extricate themselves from abusive relationships, and the malignant violence that lurks in the soul of Rob Porter.
The first time he called me a “fucking bitch” was on our honeymoon. (I found out years later he had kicked his first wife on theirs.) A month later he physically prevented me from leaving the house. Less than two months after that, I filed a protective order with the police because he punched in the glass on our front door while I was locked inside. We bought a house to make up for it. Just after our one year anniversary, he pulled me, naked and dripping, from the shower to yell at me.
Everyone loved him. People commented all the time how lucky I was. Strangers complimented him to me every time we went out. But in my home, the abuse was insidious. The threats were personal. The terror was real. And yet I stayed.
When I tried to get help, I was counseled to consider carefully how what I said might affect his career. And so I kept my mouth shut and stayed. I was told, yes, he was deeply flawed, but then again so was I. And so I worked on myself and stayed. If he was a monster all the time, perhaps it would have been easier to leave. But he could be kind and sensitive. And so I stayed. He cried and apologized. And so I stayed. He offered to get help and even went to a few counseling sessions and therapy groups. And so I stayed. He belittled my intelligence and destroyed my confidence. And so I stayed. I felt ashamed and trapped. And so I stayed. Friends and clergy didn’t believe me. And so I stayed. I was pregnant. And so I stayed. I lost the pregnancy and became depressed. And so I stayed.
From the way that the abuse counselor placed more value on a man’s career over the well-being of a woman to the way that the President’s Chief of Staff actively dismissed the allegations and even fought for Porter to stay after the headlines, the Rob Porter scandal is a yet another chilling illustration of how American society actively enables and protects domestic abusers and sexual predators.
If you’re keeping track, the administration of the party that ostensibly represents “family values” has an admitted sexual predator as president who paid a porn star hush money to hide their affair, a vice-president who doesn’t believe gay people should be allowed to have families, a general who used to run a torture camp ignoring domestic abuse, and have had at least four known abusers on their staff.