It’s no secret that Trump respects men who keep women in their place: “You have to treat ’em like shit.” Perhaps that’s why top White House staffer Rob Porter got a hero’s goodbye this week, even as a picture of his ex-wife’s battered face was splashed across the news.
Porter, accused of assaulting both of his ex-wives and a former girlfriend, gave his resignation but “was not pressured to do so”, according to press secretary Sarah Sanders. In fact, Sanders lauded Porter as having the full confidence of the president and Gen John Kelly, and took the time to read Porter’s statement, in which he called the accusations “vile” and a “smear campaign”.
This came less than a day after Kelly called Porter “a man of true integrity and honor” in response to the allegations. So much for women being “sacred”. As it turns out, the White House knew for quite some time about Porter’s history of domestic violence – he couldn’t get security clearance because of it – but continued to rally behind him. In fact, Kelly promoted Porter soon after finding out about the abuse.
The truth is that Porter’s history of abuse allegations is less of an anomaly than a feature of this administration.
This is an administration overflowing with men who hurt women. Even so, we can’t become jaded as to how incredibly remarkable this all is. The White House, knowing that Porter abused multiple women, called him a man of integrity. They looked at a picture of his battered wife and defended him, still. He left the administration not in shame or disgrace, but honored.
“You have to treat ’em like shit” is no longer an embarrassing old Trump quote. It’s a mandate.