Former President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama unveiled their official portraits today at the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery. The striking, colorful images were an immediate hit and unleashed another potent wave of collective nostalgia for the Obama era. Once again, Americans were reminded of what it was like to have a dignified married couple in the White House.
The Obama portraits are an important marker. The fact that they chose Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald to paint them matters — in fact it's huge — and underscores the former first couple's longtime championing of contemporary black artists. More here: https://t.co/LRHoWh3iqp pic.twitter.com/oXFt9m8KzD
— Joy Reid (@JoyAnnReid) February 12, 2018
After the images were released, superstar musician and outspoken Trump critic John Legend took Twitter to praise the Obamas and take a shot at our current president, who has spent the recent news cycle defending accused domestic abuser Rob Porter, who was forced out of the White House last week after images of his ex-wife’s bruised face resurfaced.
Legend pointed out the dignity of the Obamas and the stark contrast they offer to the Trumps.
The Obamas so cool and graceful. Their successor defending spousal abusers. So stark.
— John Legend (@johnlegend) February 12, 2018
The musician perfectly nailed how much of the country feels about our current situation. The Porter scandal is just the latest reminder of the kinds of monsters we have running our federal government in 2018.
Colbie Holderness, a senior analyst for the federal government, was married to Porter for 5 years. She alleges repeated physical and emotional abuse at his hands. The accusations come on the tail of a similar story from Porter’s second wife Jennifer Willoughby. Porter is accused of punching, kicking, and choking the women.
“I was his first wife and it wasn’t until there was a second wife and then a long-time girlfriend reaching out to me, who was experiencing some weird things. I started to realize that he keeps getting away with it. It’s a pattern now, it hasn’t gone away,” Holderness said to The Daily Mail.
Given the administration’s horrendous track record with treatment and behavior towards women, it’s not particularly surprising that the White House knew about the allegations of Porter and did nothing for so long. Chief of Staff John Kelly has found himself in hot water for keeping Porter on despite reports that he knew about the credible allegations of abuse.
CBS News reports that Porter was allowed to work for the administration this entire past year, despite the fact that they were warned of his alleged past behavior.
Senior White House aide Rob Porter physically assaulted two ex-wives, they tell @theintercept. Full story to come in the morning.
His first wife, Colbie Holderness, provided these photos from a vacation they took together in Florence, Italy: pic.twitter.com/tl3TbyGA8Y
— Ryan Grim (@ryangrim) February 7, 2018
Porter is just the latest member of the Trump team to be outted as a violent misogynist. The president himself has admitted to sexual assault on tape, been credibly accused by numerous women of the same, and faced allegations that he raped a 13-year-old girl. It’s hardly surprising that Trump was willing to give such a disgusting defense of Porter.
The president wished Porter well and a successful career, praised his work ethic, and pointed out that Porter claims he’s innocent last week. Today, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders fielded questions about Porter and offered the tepid statement that the Porter allegations need to be investigated.
REPORTER: Why won't Trump denounce domestic violence?
SANDERS: I talked to him and the words I just said are his words.
REPORTER: Does the president believe Rob Porter's accusers?
SANDERS, DODGING: The allegations need to be investigated. pic.twitter.com/KlBbNMYzg5
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) February 12, 2018