White House officials baffled by Trump's conflicting stances on Rob Porter

Several White House officials have expressed confusion over ...

Posted: Feb 12, 2018 7:56 PM
Updated: Feb 12, 2018 7:56 PM

Several White House officials have expressed confusion over President Donald Trump's conflicting remarks on the allegations made against his former staff secretary Rob Porter, who resigned last Wednesday after his two former spouses accused him of physical and verbal abuse.

Though a smattering of top aides appeared on television Sunday to defend the White House's response to the situation, other officials were left wondering how the President can go from reportedly calling Porter "a sick puppy" in private to being-defensive of him and dismissive of the allegations in public.-Officials say they-are left wondering where Trump truly stands on this issue.

The West Wing has been mired in turmoil since the allegations against Porter first surfaced, and aides are still unable to provide a consistent explanation as to which officials knew about the accusations and when. CNN has reported that several senior administration officials, including chief of staff John Kelly, were aware of the allegations before they became public.

The President has contributed to the confusion with his differing remarks on Porter. Though White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said he was "disturbed" and legislative affairs director Marc Short maintained he was "saddened," Trump has expressed a different sentiment publicly.

On Friday, he emphasized that Porter has maintained his innocence and was a stellar employee in the West Wing, while wishing him the best in his future endeavors. The next day he complained that a-"mere allegation"-could ruin someone without due process.

"People's lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation," he tweeted, adding, "Some are true and some are false. Some are old and some are new. There is no recovery for someone falsely accused - life and career are gone. Is there no such thing any longer as Due Process?"

Director of the Office of Management and Budget Mick Mulvaney said Sunday the President may have been thinking of Steve Wynn, the former Republican National Committee finance chairman who stepped down recently amid dozens of accusations of sexual misconduct, when he wrote he tweet.

"When I saw the tweet -- I know Rob Porter wasn't mentioned -- I wondered if the President was talking about his friend Steve Wynn, who has been accused and essentially condemned without any due process," Mulvaney said on Fox News. "What you also saw there from the President is a certain sadness that somebody that he liked had let him down."

White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley was also unable to answer Monday why the President has been publicly dismissive of the allegations against Porter if he is privately critical.

"I don't know if he is going to say that publicly or not," Gidley said in an interview on Fox News. "And I have not spoken with the President about this, but I can say, you know, we lean on a process here at the White House and quite frankly, as soon as we found out about this on Tuesday, Wednesday Rob Porter was gone. The President has been very clear, that all forms of abuse, all forms of battery against women are horrible and disgusting."

The situation has presented another uncomfortable momen for a White House that has been largely out of step with the #MeToo movement that has swept the country. Trump, given the range of sexual harassment and assault allegations against him, has long struggled to respond to the nationwide focus on the mistreatment against women.

During the election, at least 15 women accused Trump of ranging from sexual harassment and sexual assault to lewd behavior around women. They came forward in the wake of a 2005 "Access Hollywood" tape of Trump released in October 2016 caught him saying on a hot mic: "And when you're a star, they let you do it. You can do anything ... Grab them by the p****. You can do anything."

But the White House -- through spokeswoman Sarah Sanders and others -- has dismissed all the allegations against him as old news that had been litigated during the 2016 campaign.

Trump told the British broadcaster Piers Morgan in January that he was not a feminist because he was "for everyone."

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

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Reported Deaths: 13434
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1000031743
Lake53771970
Allen40668678
St. Joseph35733552
Hamilton35629408
Elkhart28577442
Tippecanoe22402219
Vanderburgh22310397
Porter18776308
Johnson17970379
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Clark12985191
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LaPorte11928211
Monroe11893170
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Warrick7784155
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Grant7060174
Wayne7051199
Boone6700101
Morgan6576139
Dubois6156117
Marshall6050111
Dearborn581378
Cass5808105
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Noble561384
Jackson501773
Shelby491996
Lawrence4546120
Harrison435872
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Jay195130
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Ohio56811
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Ohio Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 1085733

Reported Deaths: 19441
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1261201400
Cuyahoga1124072120
Hamilton801491206
Montgomery515591014
Summit47292946
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Butler38396584
Stark32412907
Lorain25046481
Warren24313300
Mahoning21629588
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Clermont19803238
Delaware18537133
Licking16436212
Fairfield16230200
Trumbull16082468
Medina15309264
Greene15099244
Clark14017299
Wood13113189
Portage12890203
Allen11675232
Richland11382199
Miami10686217
Wayne8843211
Columbiana8816229
Muskingum8815133
Pickaway8582121
Marion8539135
Tuscarawas8487244
Erie7917154
Hancock6929127
Ross6858155
Ashtabula6830170
Geauga6697148
Scioto6417101
Belmont5920167
Union571048
Lawrence5560102
Jefferson5544151
Huron5439119
Darke5364123
Sandusky5359121
Seneca5290121
Athens520058
Washington5160109
Auglaize491984
Mercer480885
Shelby470093
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Madison436661
Putnam4287100
Fulton423969
Ashland423189
Defiance421097
Crawford3978107
Brown395057
Logan382376
Preble379898
Clinton372963
Ottawa367479
Highland355662
Williams340275
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Guernsey316253
Jackson312652
Perry295350
Morrow285639
Fayette282250
Hardin271464
Henry269366
Coshocton265357
Holmes2611101
Van Wert243763
Adams238552
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Gallia235949
Wyandot231555
Hocking215462
Carroll191647
Paulding173340
Meigs144940
Noble133337
Monroe132342
Harrison108537
Morgan108523
Vinton83515
Unassigned02
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