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How was this man allowed to keep his White House job?

Ruth Marcus on

But there is another phenomenon at work here that goes beyond the see-no-evil enablers of the Trump administration. It involves our continued societal resistance to the notion that domestic abuse knows no class barriers -- that the best and the brightest are among the perpetrators. The wifebeater shirt can equally be a pinstripe suit.

Consider Porter, the seeming golden boy. Harvard College. Rhodes scholar. Republican bona fides (his father, Roger Porter, worked for President George H.W. Bush; Rob Porter served as chief of staff to Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch) to match what the Deseret News called his "strong Latter-day Saint pedigree." A man like that wouldn't abuse his wife, would he?

I learned differently, early in my career, writing about the case of John Fedders, who resigned as enforcement chief at the Securities and Exchange Commission in 1985, after his wife accused him of years of beatings. "It happens to all classes of people," a domestic abuse counselor told me then. "It's just that when you have that much land around your house the screams are not heard by the neighbors."

The related delusion is that private behavior has no public relevance, that the two can be conveniently separated. Indeed, Willoughby herself expressed this view. "I have the utmost respect for him professionally," she told The Intercept. "If there was to be a staff secretary in the Trump administration I hope to God it is Rob."

Not me. Not anyone who understands the true meaning of integrity.

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Ruth Marcus' email address is ruthmarcus@washpost.com.

(c) 2018, Washington Post Writers Group

 

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