Long-time CBS anchor Dan Rather called President Donald Trump’s defense of Rob Porter, a former White House staff secretary accused of domestic abuse, a “heat-seeking missile” aimed at some of the president’s “biggest vulnerabilities.”
After Porter left his job Wednesday in the wake of media reports of domestic abuse accusations by both of his ex-wives, Trump praised his work in the White House and wished him a “wonderful career.” Trump emphasized that Porter insists he is innocent and indicated in a tweet Porter may have been “falsely accused.”
Rather wrote in a Facebook post that Trump’s support of Porter “reminds everyone” that Trump, too, has been “credibly accused of assault (by multiple women).” Twenty-one women have accused Trump of sexual misconduct.
Rather also pointed out that, like Porter, there are several people in the White House still lacking security clearance — including Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner.
Trump’s “incredible cocoon of privilege and ego … blinds him to the sheer horror of his statements in defense of Mr. Porter,” Rather said.
“Debating whether credibly accused wife beaters should be allowed the honor … to serve in the White House isn’t democracy. It’s madness — and a moment of sadness for the country,” Rather concluded.
Both of Porter’s ex-wives told media they divorced Porter because of his violence. Both also said they were contacted in 2016 by a woman — reportedly working in the Trump administration — who said she was a girlfriend of Porter and was being abused by him, CNN reported.
Porter’s first wife, Colbie Holderness, told The Intercept that Porter punched her in the face in 2005. She provided photos of herself with a black eye.
Porter’s second wife, Jennifer Willoughby, told The Daily Mail her ex-husband emotionally, mentally and physically abused her. She said Porter once visited her in her home, violating a restraining order, and broke a window with his fist.
On Friday, Trump defended Porter, saying: “As you probably know, he says he’s innocent, and I think you have to remember that.”
He also tweeted on Saturday, without mentioning Porter’s name: “People’s lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation … There is no recovery for someone falsely accused — life and career are gone.”
On Friday, White House speechwriter David Sorensen also resigned after his ex-wife accused him of physically abusing her.