The US president has finally condemned domestic violence after one of his aides resigned over related charges. The Trump administration's handling of Rob Porter's resignation has shaken the White House's upper echelons.
US President Donald Trump on Wednesday in remarks made to journalists at the White House voiced his total opposition to domestic abuse. The president's words came days after he praised former top aide Rob Porter, who had been forced to resign last week due to allegations of assault made by his two ex-wives.
"I'm opposed to domestic violence and everybody here knows that," Trump said in the Oval Office. "I'm totally opposed to domestic violence of any kind. Everyone knows that and it almost wouldn't even have to be said. So now you hear it, you all know it."
The president's decision to directly address the subject of domestic assault comes as a groundswell of sexual violence accusations have forced high-ranking men across a range of industries — from politics to media — to step down from their positions. Trump himself has also been accused of sexual assault and harassment by several women.
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Trump's words also mark the end of his week-long silence on his stance towards domestic abuse. While he had commented on Porter's departure, the president had not yet explicitly expressed his personal position on the topic of physical violence.
Prior praise for Porter
Over the weekend, however, Trump did find the words to defend the work of his former staff secretary. He told reporters on Friday, "[Porter] says he's innocent, and I think you have to remember that." Trump also applauded Porter for his "good work" in the White House.
He did not express sympathy for Porter's former wives.
On Saturday, Trump then used a Tweet to cast doubt on the seriousness of assault accusations, describing them as "mere allegations."
"Peoples (sic) lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation. Some are true and some are false. Some are old and some are new," Trump wrote on Twitter. "There is no recovery for someone falsely accused — life and career are gone. Is there no such thing any longer as a Due Process?"
Porter's resignation and the White House's handling of the situation shook the administration at the highest level. Chief of staff John Kelly and White House lawyer Don McGahn are said to have known about the allegations against Porter.
The White House insists that it only learned of the allegations shortly before Porter's resignation, while the FBI maintains the administration had received information on the subject at various points last year.
Congressional lawmakers have launched an investigation looking into how Porter was able to work at the White House on an interim security clearance despite the allegations of domestic violence.
cmb/dm (Reuters, AP)