Political Editors / February 14, 2018

Trying to Make Sense of White House Chaos Over Porter

Porter’s a sleaze ball, the administration has failed, and the Leftmedia is exploiting it for Demo electoral advantage.

The White House is a mess, and it’s mostly been a mess from Day 1. Yes, President Donald Trump had a very successful first year on policy, but the circus in the West Wing is an entirely different matter. For the last several days, the Leftmedia has gone for the salacious 24/7 news churn — and, make no mistake, that’s what it is — about White House aide Rob Porter and the very credible accusations of domestic abuse alleged by his two former wives. One of them wrote an op-ed in — where else? — The Washington Post.

A few of the lowlights from the whole saga:

  • Trump defended Porter publicly, but privately said he believed the accusers. He likely wanted to avoid charges of hypocrisy over his own personal failings. More on that below.

  • The White House let Porter stick around even after receiving the FBI report on his behavior. (We can understand not trusting the FBI, but that’s not why Porter was kept on.) The FBI feared that the guy handling information flow to Trump was vulnerable to blackmail. Clearly, that’s serious. Moreover, the White House misrepresented the timeline of Porter’s employment and the FBI report.

  • It appears that Chief of Staff John Kelly has made serious errors in handling the situation, perhaps including lying and ordered other staff to lie. There are valid calls for him to go, and he has reportedly offered to resign. Yet the folks really pushing his ouster — and it’s likely that Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump are behind it — don’t want a calmer, better-run White House. More Jared and Ivanka is not what the country needs. Kelly valued Porter’s help in establishing a more disciplined and functional White House, and things won’t improve with him gone.

  • That said, the White House under Kelly’s leadership has done a poor job of handling the underlying situation and has changed its story way too many times during the fallout. That only feeds the media churn, and that churn is in service of one thing — the Democrats’ 2018 strategy to incite female voter outrage in conjunction with the #MeToo movement so as to hurt Trump and the GOP. For a president of low character himself, that’s an easy strategy to push.

On that point, National Review’s Dan McLaughlin writes, “When Trump’s personal failings come with public consequences … [it] reminds us of the value of screening out bad characters before nominating them for high office. If he and his supporters are gunshy about denouncing wife-beaters and men who prey on 14-year-old girls because they are worried about making it easier to hang sexual harassment charges (or worse) around Trump’s neck, that’s proof positive that his personal character can’t be separated from his public duties.”

Unfortunately, nothing good can come of this for Trump or Republicans now, and worst of all the real victims — Porter’s ex-wives — have been drug through the mud in a needlessly messy political battle.

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