From the Left



Sarah Huckabee Sanders is at a loss for words on Rob Porter. I am here for her.

Dana Milbank on

WASHINGTON -- Are you having trouble keeping up with the Rob Porter scandal? Apparently Sarah Huckabee Sanders is.

Her daily press briefing Wednesday was scheduled for 1 p.m., then at 2 p.m. was postponed until 4 p.m., then at 4 p.m. was abandoned entirely. The menu of topics -- scandals at the EPA and VA, confirmation of a payoff to porn actress Stormy Daniels and, by midafternoon, another horrendous school shooting -- was hardly appetizing. And the unpalatable entree was sure to be Porter, the White House staff secretary who resigned last week amid accusations of wife-beating that were ignored by the White House for months.

After eight days of the administration's shifting and contradictory explanations of its handling of Porter, it's quite understandable that Sanders would be at a loss for words. But I am here for her. As a public service, I used the time waiting in vain for Wednesday's briefing to compile the following executive summary of l'affaire Porter, in Trump administration officials' own words:

Rob Porter "is a man of true integrity and honor," a "trusted professional" and "friend to many" in the White House who were "proud to serve alongside him," and enjoys the "full confidence and trust" of the president and Chief of Staff John Kelly. This is why "Porter did the right thing by resigning" and why "General Kelly had no tolerance" for what he was accused of. Porter "was not being honest," was not being "forthcoming," leaving his colleagues "very disturbed" and convinced he "had to go."

White House officials "are all processing the shocking and troubling allegations made against" Porter, which is why they "hope he has a wonderful career and hopefully he will have a great career ahead of him."

Porter "says he's innocent and I think you have to remember that. He said very strongly yesterday that he's innocent," which explains why "it became apparent to us that the allegations were true."

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Porter "is someone of the highest integrity and exemplary character" and is the victim of "a coordinated smear campaign." As a result, there is "no reason not to believe the women" who accused him, and his "resignation was appropriate."

Resignation "was a personal decision that Rob made and one that he was not pressured to do, but one that he made on his own." Furthermore, "we dismissed that person immediately."

There were "contemporaneous police reports," "women speaking to the FBI under threat of perjury" and "photographs" corroborating accusations of wife beating. Consequently, "we absolutely wish him well."

The White House "learned of the extent of the situation involving Rob Porter last Tuesday evening," as a result of Porter himself telling the White House counsel of the situation in January 2017.


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