The White House is scrambling to explain why Donald Trump has not condemned domestic violence. The President of the United States stands at the most prominent bully-pulpit on earth. A word, or in Donald Trump’s case a tweet can illuminate an issue, and help combat social injustices.
With 47.8 million followers on Twitter and has posted 39,934 tweets, one would think the most powerful man on earth could eek out a tweet or two condemning spouses who physically abuse one another. The answer appears to be that the President finds the issue of another procedural misstep and the appearance of a cover-up of domestic abuse more critical than the number of spouses who suffer a beating at the hands of their mate.
“On average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. During one year, this equates to more than 10 million women and men.” --From The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) fact sheet.
Critics of the White House handling of the Rob Porter affair, point to leaks from inside the Administration that say that White House staff knew of the allegations and turned a blind eye to the reports of domestic abuse. White House spokesperson, Sarah Sanders, under questioning from reporters firmly denies reports the White House had prior knowledge of the allegations.
The Trump administration has more leaks than a wire mesh sieve. Multiple reports from various sources within the chaotic Administration have told numerous reporters the staff had known of the issue since Mr. Porter’s FBI background check a year ago. Sources close to the situation have told CNN and others that White House Chief of Staff, John Kelly, became aware of the Porter problem in November.
“1 in 4 women and 1 in 7 men have been victims of severe physical violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime.” --From The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) fact sheet.
On the weekend, President Trump took posted on Twitter, his favorite medium for speaking to the public, and issued the tweet on the left. The tweet marginalizes the issue of abuse of women and appears to give Porter a way out of the claim of his ex-wives. It also set the theme for the White House’s defense of their actions in the Porter affair.
In her press briefing, Ms. Sanders read a statement she says was dictated to her by the President, "The President and the entire administration take domestic violence very seriously and believe all allegations need to be investigated thoroughly. Above all, the President supports victims of domestic violence and believes everyone should be treated fairly and with due process."
I am sorry, the White House statement has the unmistakable stench of lawyer-speak. During the campaign, many complained about Hillary Clinton sounding like “a damn lawyer” because of hedging rhetoric. The words are textbook hedging, trying to be all things to all people, and committing to nothing. A betting man would say that some lawyer wrote a statement, which was then given to the President, who added the “due process” language, and now is being foisted off as dictated from the lips of Donald Trump himself. Sorry, no sale.
The statement’s reference to due process shows the final author has no clue what due process means. The FBI background investigation of Porter by the FBI is not a due process issue, which deals with courts of law. It is an Administrative process issue. That is far different from the language in the Fifth and Fourteenth Amendments to the U.S. Constitution, which state that no person shall be: "deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law." Since Rob Porter is not facing a trial that may cause him to be executed, jailed or his property taken, due process does not apply.
Once again, the President of the United States finds himself in a conundrum he created. The White House is trying to be all things to all people without taking a side. It reminds me of the incident in Charlottesville, Virginia last July, where the President praised both sides, one of the parties being the Ku Klux Klan, as having good people on both sides.
The Trump Administration seems to be forging a new doctrine. It should be named, “The Trump Doctrine of make it worse.” In the minted-by-Trump White House dogma, if disturbing news confronts the White House, then, by all means, see how we can make it worse, rather than deal with the issue forthrightly.”
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