Sunday, February 11, 2018

Trump White House and Rob Porter Story: "Nothing More Important Than a Powerful Man's Word"

Huffington Post U.S. Top Headline, 10 Feb. 2018, 8 A.M. CST

Amanda Terkel, "For Trump, There’s Nothing More Important Than A Powerful Man's Word": 

Trump's reaction is consistent with the way he and his supporters have handled other sexual misconduct allegations against powerful men.

Michelle Goldberg, "Rob Porter Is Donald Trump's Kind of Guy":

The reasons that Porter didn't belong in any White House are the reasons he fit in in this one.

Charles Pierce, "The Whole Fish Is Rotten, Not Just Rob Porter":

The simple fact is that the White House is out of anyone’s control because the president* is out of anyone’s control. (As is his hair, which appears to be preparing for its annual migration to the forests of Guatemala any day now.) The simple fact is that Rob Porter found a job in the White House that he could keep—for a while, anyway—despite what his bosses knew about his history of domestic violence, because his ultimate boss has faced plenty of his own accusations and ended up becoming the damn President* of the United States. The fish is a bully from the head down. The president* certainly had a lot to talk about with the other guests at the National Prayer Breakfast on Thursday morning. 
And, yes, there was a mysteriously high number of Russians there, too. 
It goes on.

Anna North, "Trump's long history of employing — and defending — men accused of hurting women": 

When two women told the FBI that White House staff secretary Rob Porter had abused them, Porter joined a line of Trumpworld men accused of choking, grabbing, threatening, hitting, or otherwise abusing women. 
At least five administration and campaign figures (including Trump himself) have been the subject of abuse allegations. Rather than treat such allegations with gravity, Trump and his team have chosen to ignore them, to fire back at the women on Twitter, or to parrot men’s assurances of their innocence over women's reports.

Addy Baird, "The Rob Porter scandal has exposed the real John Kelly": 

Two years ago, before President Trump was President Trump, before White House staff secretary Rob Porter resigned in the wake of domestic abuse accusations, current White House Chief of Staff John Kelly appeared as a character witness in a court-martial of a Marine colonel who was accused of sexually harassing two woman subordinates. 
At the court-martial, Kelly praised the colonel as a "superb Marine officer," as The New York Times reported Thursday. It wouldn't be the last time Kelly downplayed assault accusations.

My editorial comment here: Gosh, how time has flown since John Kelly lectured the nation on how women are to be treated as "sacred" and how we've become a gross, boorish culture without moral foundations.

Can anyone play a tape with those remarks back to him now? Oh, wait, I remember now: they were all about how we've lost a sense of religion and our cultural moorings as a black man became president and dirty queers got out of their place and expected to be treated as equal to other human beings, and uppity women thought — my God, what a farce! — they could qualify for the American presidency.

Kelly's remarks were all about how men are back in the Trump White House.

Jessica Corbett, "Trump's Statement on Alleged Abuser Rob Porter: 'Him-He-Him-Him-He-He-He-He-Him-He-He-He-He-He-He-Him-Him-He-He'":

Several critics pointed out that the president, speaking from the Oval Office on Friday, focused on Porter exclusively while failing to mention the female victims who say they suffered from his abuse. With emphasis added, the president said: 
"Well, we wish him well. He worked very hard. I found out about it recently and I was surprised by it. But we certainly wish him well. It's a obviously tough time for him. He did a very good job when he was in the White House, and we hope he has a wonderful career, and hopefully he will have a great career ahead of him. But it was very sad when we heard about it, and certainly he's also very sad. Now he also, as you probably know, he says he's innocent, and I think you have to remember that. He said very strongly yesterday that he's innocent, so you'll have to talk to him about that, but we absolutely wish him well. He did a very good job while he was at the White House."

Jana Riess, "On Rob Porter, Mormonism, and siding with the abuser": 

To me, what is especially heartbreaking about the story is that so many of the players are or were Mormon—Porter, both of his ex-wives, and also Sen. Orrin Hatch, Porter's former employer who on Tuesday denounced the accusers as "politically motivated, morally bankrupt character assassins that would attempt to sully a man's good name." (By Wednesday Hatch's follow-up statement was far more circumspect.) 
Most painful of all was the fact that both women seem to have gone to their LDS bishops about the abuse when it was happening, and both had their abuse minimized or dismissed. One article describes the experiences of Colby Holderness, the first wife: 
"One summer, when she was interning at a federal agency, she had access to a counselor through her job. 'When I explained to him what was happening, he had a very different reaction from the Mormon bishops,' she said. 'It was weirdly validating to hear that from somebody else.' Speaking about the counselor, she said, 'He was very concerned to hear Rob was choking me.'" 
That last statement seems to suggest that her Mormon bishop also heard at some point that Holderness was being choked by her husband, and the bishop was not concerned about it. 
Let’s pause on that for a moment: Not concerned that Porter was choking. His. Wife.

Jane Coaston, "The White House had to protect Rob Porter to save Donald Trump":

The White House's inaction — and recent defense of Porter — bring to light a major conflict within the conservative movement in the age of Trump. While House Speaker Paul Ryan touts his support for bipartisan legislation to end harassment and misconduct committed by members of Congress, and other Republicans make changes within their own offices, the Trump White House is not even paying lip service to reform. 
Instead, they've housed Porter, accused of spousal abuse, and Steve Bannon, also accused of spousal abuse (whom Trump nicknamed "Bam Bam" because of it), and backed an Alabama Senate candidate accused of molesting or assaulting minors. 
For the White House, the politics are simple: Protect Trump. Because Trump himself is accused of assaulting dozens of women, they've had to lower the bar for male behavior so that even he can meet it. Any allegation of misconduct made against anyone close to Trump, then, must be dismissed as if it were being made against Trump himself.

Laura McGann, "Trump just taught a master class in manipulating language to excuse abuse":

The president's statement on Rob Porter erased his accusers. . . .Trump's attempt to help Porter on Friday shows he understands the root of #MeToo's power. When victims speak, when they take action, when they force us to see, the power of predators fades away. The best Trump could do for Porter was to take away his victims’ humanity, their active descriptions, and replace it all with just one word: "it."


And this story by Emma Green about Notre Dame University's twists and turns regarding contraceptive coverage for female employees is not without pertinence as we discuss the preceding reports, is it? Especially not when Notre Dame president Father John Jenkins grounds his twists and turns about this matter in claims that the encyclical forbidding artificial contraception is "prophetic" in its resistance to "the objectification of women":

Jenkins argued that the moral issues at stake in this decision are not so clear cut. Catholic teachings, such as Pope Paul VI's 1968 document Humanae Vitae, clearly indicate that birth control is counter to Catholic teachings. In his letter, Jenkins wrote that the encyclical's "prophetic quality is clear," challenging cultural tendencies toward the objectification of women, the decline of marriage, government intervention in procreation, a lack of respect for "the natural processes of our bodies," and the threat of technological manipulation.

Strange. I'd have thought that there's no greater objectification of women than treating them like baby-making machines expected to pop out a baby anytime they have sex.

In conclusion, this is a White House full of men who abuse and have abused women — and the stories have been right out in the open.

We should not be surprised. The moral monstrosity is the kind of "guy" that a sizable majority of white men placed in the White House, with the shameful backing of a majority of white women.

From the outset, this filthy, incompetent administration was about demonstrating to women that they have no right to claim the White House and that their rights will be trampled on in every way possible — because, as these filthy men kept crowing after they blocked Hillary Clinton from the White House and worked to sweep away the legacy of Barack Obama, an African-American male they despised, Men Are Back.

It's beyond shameful that many white women participate in all of this. History will not judge them well.

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