Trump’s defenders had a rough Sunday morning trying to do damage control on the Rob Porter domestic abuse scandal, including one adviser who was stunned into momentary silence over Trump’s despicable response.
The White House sent surrogates to all of the Sunday shows, and the results were progressively more absurd and desperate. Trump has professed Porter’s innocence of the photographically-verified abuse and lamented the lack of “due process” for men who abuse women, but not uttered a single syllable about the victims of abuse — other than to smear them as liars.
“Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd confronted Director of Legislative Affairs Marc Short about Trump’s silence.
“Why didn’t the president or General Kelly ever talk about the victims of Mr. Porter?” Todd asked pointedly.
After a stunned pause, Short stammered, “Chuck, as I said, I think that uh, probably there’s more reason to go back and talk about the victims, just as I’m sure that NBC learned about their way of handling the Matt Lauer situation.”
“This is not about NBC,” Todd replied. “I understand why you are trying to do that …”
“I’m saying that there are people that go through a process like this when you know somebody, in y’all’s case for 25 years,” Short interrupted. “We knew Rob for a year in this White House, so yes, when we learned about it, we were sad and shocked and didn’t think that this was something that Rob would be capable of doing.”
“But if it is true,” Short said, expressing doubt about the accusers and the photographic evidence, “there is no tolerance for it, and he has since left the White House. That happened between Tuesday night and Wednesday morning.”
Short’s stunned silence speaks volumes, and his bizarre attack on NBC only serves to underscore Todd’s point.
When Lauer was fired by NBC, Trump did not speak out about Lauer’s victims. Instead, he tried to leverage Lauer’s actions into the firing of a perceived critic.
And unlike Porter, Lauer really was fired immediately by NBC, while Porter’s resignation was reluctantly accepted by a White House that was still defending him Wednesday afternoon, and still intending to keep him on until his replacement was found.
Perhaps the most relevant and disturbing thing Short said in that interview was “if it is true” — adding further evidence that none of the flacks who were sent out to do damage control and try to defend Trump were permitted to say that he believes the women.
It’s hardly surprising, because if Trump were to say he believes the women accusing Porter, it would follow that Trump himself deserved the same fate as his now-former aide.