Tag Archives: Rob Porter

Trump once believed in ‘due process’

It’s hard to believe, but Donald J. Trump once stood tall for the cause of “due process.”

A one-time White House staff secretary, Rob Porter, faced accusations that he beat up two former wives. He was forced to quit amid storms of protest.

The president then asked out loud about whatever happened to “due process.” Why, Porter deserved the same level of due process that the country grants to everyone else, Trump said.

That was then.

These days, due process has been kicked to the curb. The president now believes that every immigrant who comes into the country illegally should be rounded up and kicked out immediately. Due process be damned! They don’t need any adjudication, he said.

What gives? Does the president favor due process or not?

Sure, I get that he’s trying to make a political point. However, some principles should withstand political pressure.

U.S. law allows illegal immigrants to have their cases heard by the judicial system. Judges have an obligation, according to the law, to hear the immigrants’ stories and decide — based on the law — how their case should be resolved.

The president, though, says that’s no longer necessary.

Get ’em out of here, he says. All of ’em! Refugees? Those fleeing persecution? Violence? Forget about it!

Kick them all out, he says. Now!


Gowdy poses relevant question to White House

Trey Gowdy is a South Carolina Republican U.S. House member who’s planning to leave Congress at the end of the year.

He’s not done asking relevant questions. Gowdy has one for the White House.

How did Rob Porter, the former White House staff secretary who quit after allegations of spousal abuse surfaced, operate without the proper security clearance for as long as he did?

Gowdy has posed the question to White House chief of staff John Kelly, who’s supposed to keep track of such things. Porter worked with an “interim” clearance, even though he had been accused by two former wives of beating them up.

I’ve always thought that such a rap would disqualify someone from gaining access to the kind of documents that Porter was allowed to handle. Rep. Gowdy wants to know how this happened in a White House that is supposed to run — in the words of the president — like a “fine-tuned machine.”

FBI Director Christopher Wray also has testified that the FBI knew long ago about Porter’s alleged domestic trouble, which has shot holes in Kelly’s assertion that the White House was blindsided by the allegations.

I believe Gen. Kelly has some explaining to do.

Trump’s ‘machine’ keep misfiring

I keep circling back to a description that Donald John Trump hung on his presidential administration.

He has called it a “fine-tuned machine.” He meant, I presume, to suggest that the administration was firing on all cylinders, that is purring like a kitten, that it is well-lubed/oiled. Pick whatever metaphor you think the president intended.

Now we have yet another example of that machine grinding its gears. It has flown off the rails. It’s in the ditch … yet again.

The White House has stumbled back into crisis management mode. Chief of staff John Kelly is under intense examination for the way he handled — or mishandled — the circumstances surrounding former staff secretary Rob Porter and the allegations that he beat up his two ex-wives and a former girlfriend.

Porter has quit. A speechwriter has quit because of allegations that he abused his former wife.

The question at hand is what Kelly knew and when he knew it. He denies knowing long ago that Porter had been suspected of spousal abuse. There has been credible reporting that Kelly did know months ago, long before it all blew up this past week.

The president reportedly is angry over what Kelly knew and what he didn’t divulge to the boss — that would be Trump — about the questions regarding Porter’s conduct.

Media have reported that Kelly offered to resign. Kelly denies making that offer. White House officials are now struggling to clear up the “message” coming from the West Wing.

Chaos has revealed itself again at the White House.

We are not witnessing a “fine-tuned machine” at work. What we are watching is a jalopy in need of yet another major overhaul.

Key aides disserve POTUS and the nation

Believe this or not, but I am going to give Donald J. Trump the benefit of the doubt on the latest tempest that is sweeping through the White House.

The president said he learned only recently of Rob Porter’s record of spousal abuse. I want to believe him. Indeed, I actually am inclined to do so. Porter quit his post as staff secretary to the president when it became known that he had beat up his two former wives and a former girlfriend.

The bad guys here appear to be two of Trump’s closest aides: chief of staff John Kelly and White House counsel Donald McGahn.

We have seen considerable credible reporting that suggests Kelly and McGahn knew about Porter’s alleged wife- and girlfriend-beating a year ago, but kept it quiet. The FBI had received complaints and were holding up Porter’s top secret security clearance because of the probe it was conducting into the allegations. And yet, absent the security clearance he needed given the hyper-sensitive nature of the documents he handled, Porter got hired anyway.

Kelly says he know only recently about the “full details” of the allegations? McGahn, too? Please. These men appear to have kept vital information from the man who is supposed to know these things.

Kelly should depart the White House. I say that with regret. I had high hopes that the retired Marine Corps general would rub off on the mess he inherited when he moved from Homeland Security secretary to the West Wing. It hasn’t happened. Indeed, it seems he has taken on some of the president’s more unpleasant characteristics, such as dismissing accusations leveled by women against men.

As for McGahn, he recently received praise for reportedly threatening to quit if Trump fired special counsel Robert Mueller, who is conducting his investigation into the “Russia thing.” Now it appears McGahn has joined the cabal of secret-keepers operating within the White House. He needs to hit the road, too.

As for the president, I remain committed to my extreme antipathy toward him on manner of issues and behavior.

On this matter, though, it looks to me as though he — and the nation — have been served badly by two men who should have spilled the beans on their colleague’s spouse-beating history.

You want due process, Mr. POTUS? Let’s try this

Kirsten Gillibrand has come up with an interesting idea that, sadly, won’t get out of the starting blocks.

The New York U.S. senator, a Democrat, has proposed holding hearings on the sexual abuse allegations that have been leveled against Donald John Trump. You see, Gillibrand wants to call the president out on his call for “due process” relating to allegations of spousal abuse by a former key White House aide.

According to The Hill: “If he wants due process for the over dozen sexual assault allegations against him, let’s have Congressional hearings tomorrow,” she continued. “I would support that and my colleagues should too.”

Rob Porter has quit as White staff secretary. Two former wives and a former girlfriend have accused him of spousal abuse. One of the wives produced a picture of herself with a shiner under right eye; she says Porter punched her in the face.

Trump has come to Porter’s defense. He called him a fine man and said he “did a good job” as staff secretary. The president made no mention of the alleged victims of his attacks.

And he’s called for “due process” to determine Porter’s guilt or innocence.

Sen. Gillibrand wants to give Trump himself all the due process he needs regarding the many accusations that have been tossed at him by women who have alleged a number of sexual abuse transgressions.

Will Congress ever convene hearings? Please. Don’t make me laugh.

Gillibrand, though, has handed us a good idea to at least consider.

Due process, Mr. President?

Donald Trump has had an epiphany. Maybe?

I’m trying to understand how this guy, the president, can call for “due process” when he’s demonstrated a remarkable and shameful tendency to forgo it when it involves his political foes.

Now he says that Rob Porter, the former White House staff secretary who’s accused by former wives and a former girlfriend of spousal abuse is entitled to “due process.” He and a former speechwriter, who also quit this week, are being railroaded out of their jobs by mere allegations, according to the president.

Wow! Can you believe it? The president insists on “due process” to determine their guilt or innocence.

Back when he just a mere hotel/real estate mogul, Trump called for punishing five young men who had been exonerated of raping a woman in Central Park. They were the Central Park Five. Trump didn’t think for a second about due process for those individuals.

How about when he was running for president and he declared his belief that U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz’s father was somehow implicated in the assassination of President Kennedy? Oh, his evidence was a photograph he saw in, um, the National Enquirer, of Rafael Cruz and Lee Harvey Oswald. I must mention that Cruz was running against Trump for the Republican presidential nomination. Due process? Hah!

Let’s not forget the “Lock her up!” chants regarding Hillary Rodham Clinton, Trump’s opponent in the 2016 general election. Trump campaign crowds would launch into the chant and, oh yes, Trump would egg them on. Did the former secretary of state and U.S. senator deserve “due process”? Or was she fair game just because she was a politician running for the same office as the guy who beat her?

If only the president would have shown as much concern for “due process” in the not-too-distant past. His previous carelessness only heightens the skepticism when he shoots off his mouth about this current spate of White House chaos.

‘Some are true, some are false’

Donald Trump is trying to invoke some damage control in the wake of the latest tumult that is roiling the White House.

The president who once many years ago accused the Central Park Five — group of young African-American men — of raping a woman after they were exonerated is now concerned about “due process.”

He said former White House staff secretary Rob Porter is entitled to “due process” in the wake of allegations by two former wives and an ex-girlfriend that he beat them up.

Then he tweeted this, in part: “Some are true and some are false,” he said, referring to the types of allegations that have been leveled.

Whoa! Hold on there, hoss!

If “some are true,” then what bleeping differences does it make if any others are false? It takes just one “true” accusation, in my mind, to be a deal breaker. It only takes one instance of such spousal assault to disqualify anyone from the kind of position that Porter acquired in the Trump White House.

Here’s the entirety of what the president tweeted this morning. You decide:

Peoples lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation. 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?

Now he is concerned about due process.

That is, um, rich.

It’s time for Gen. Kelly to go

I’m wrong more than I am right. John Kelly moved from one key Trump administration post to another one amid high hopes that he would whip his new office into shape.

I was among those who had longed for a transformation and thought Kelly would be able to deliver it. I was mistaken.

Kelly needs to leave the White House chief of staff job. I hope he can resign under his own power, so to speak, and be done with it.

The White House mess has deepened in recent days with accusations that former staff secretary Rob Porter assaulted his two former wives and a former girlfriend. Kelly has made an utter hash of the White House response.

The key question now is whether Kelly knew about the allegations long before he said he did and kept it from the president of the United States. It appears that’s the case.

Kelly once ran the Homeland Security Department. He moved to the chief of staff post after Reince Priebus had lost control of the White House operation. Kelly, a decorated Marine Corps general, was seen as a supreme control freak and someone who could bring discipline and order to the West Wing. Sadly, that effort appears to have failed.

I am in no position, of course, to recommend anyone to the chief’s job. It’s painfully clear to me that Gen. Kelly has squandered his opportunity to right a listing operation.

He cannot disparage those who accuse a key aide of serious misconduct. He cannot be an apologist for a president who continues to exhibit a horrifying blind spot when it allegations from women surface about the conduct of men. My hope was that his Marine training and his understanding of the meaning of public service would have served him better in this critical job.

Gen. Kelly must go. Immediately.

‘Innocent’ men keep quitting their day jobs

I know in my head — and, yes, my heart — that usually we’re allowed the presumption of innocence when we stand accused of wrongdoing.

But why do all these “innocent” men keep quitting their day jobs when women accuse them of beating them up, sexually abusing them, sexually harassing them?

If they don’t quit, then why do their employers keep firing them?

Roger Ailes got canned as president of Fox News; Bill O’Reilly was shown the door, too, by the same network. They both denied ever doing what the women accused them of doing, even though they and their networks paid out millions of bucks to female accusers. Go figure.

Matt Lauer got canned by NBC after women accused him of improper sexual behavior. Lauer hasn’t yet acknowledged publicly doing anything wrong.

Most recently, we have watched the departure of Rob Porter as White House staff secretary after his two ex-wives and a former girlfriend accused him of beating them. Porter says the allegations are false, but he quit anyway. The president stands by his man, calling him a good guy who did “a good job” while working in the White House.

Al Franken quit the U.S. Senate after he was accused of misbehavior with a female TV journalist; Franken, though, said the allegations weren’t entirely accurate. Huh?

Holy mackerel, man! The list of these clowns quitting while not acknowledging any wrongdoing just baffles me.

The innocence presumption, as I understand it, is reserved for those accused of criminal activity. None of these individuals I’ve mentioned has faced a criminal accusation. They face political accusations, which is a different matter altogether.

Still, I cannot remember when I’ve seen so many “innocent” men pull the plugs on their careers.

Strange, yes? You bet it is!

About that ‘extreme vetting’ idea

I feel the need to revisit briefly an issue I raised in an earlier blog post relating to the latest tumult to erupt at the White House.

It involves former staff secretary Rob Porter, who resigned after two former wives and a former girlfriend had accused him of beating them up.

Why in the name of extreme vetting didn’t the White House personnel office detect this behavior prior to hiring this guy?

Donald John Trump has declared his intention to institute an “extreme vetting” regimen for immigrants seeking entry into the United States. I don’t have a particular problem with that.

I do, though, have a serious problem with the White House giving someone such as Porter access to highly sensitive documents when he doesn’t have a top-secret security clearance. Why does he lack such a clearance? Because the FBI was examining the issues relating to the accusation of domestic violence.

And yet … this guy got hired by the White House. Donald Trump let him in the door and allowed Porter immediate access to documents that demanded a top-secret clearance.

Why didn’t the president, the White House chief of staff and other top-drawer West Wing officials invoke the extreme vetting policy it is demanding of immigrants?

This matter well might cost White House chief of staff John Kelly his job. It is being reported that he knew months ago about the allegations of serial spousal abuse, but did nothing about it. The former wives have presented detailed accounts of what Porter allegedly did to them.

One of Porter’s former wives has issued a stern warning to White House communications director Hope Hicks, who is dating Porter: Be careful, Ms. Hicks; your beau is going to beat you up.

Extreme vetting? It’s missing at the White House personnel office.