Five men Trump has defended amid assault accusations
Chris Kleponis/Pool/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — Rob Porter may be the latest man President Donald Trump defended amid assault allegations, but he wasn’t the first.
The president himself has faced repeated allegations of sexual misconduct or assault, saying that all of the women who have accused him are “liars.”
That isn’t the exact same approach Trump used for Rob Porter, his now-former White House staff secretary, and other men close to him when they’ve faced either assault, sexual assault or sexual misconduct allegations in the past.
Three days after detailed allegations of Porter’s alleged spousal abuse were made public, and two days after photos of the alleged abuse were released, Trump weighed in and praised Porter’s work, saying he did “a very good job while he was in the White House.”
Porter has denied the allegations, despite graphic photos of one ex-wife with facial bruising and a black eye, and a haunting description of violence from a second ex-wife.
Making remarks in the Oval Office on Feb. 9, Trump said he hopes Porter has “a great career ahead of him.”
Trump said the allegations were “very sad” and said it was “obviously a tough time.”
“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,” Trump said.
Five days later — after his initial remarks about Porter — Trump made another statement, saying he is “totally opposed” to domestic violence and did not specifically tie the comments to the accusations against Porter.
“I am totally opposed to domestic violence, and everybody here knows that,” Trump said on Feb. 14. “I am totally opposed to domestic violence of any kind. Everyone knows that.”
Back in November, ahead of the special election to fill the Senate spot in Alabama vacated by Jeff Sessions, Trump publicly weighed in on the embattled Republican candidate Roy Moore.
Trump spoke of the multiple allegations of sexual misconduct against Moore — and sided with him.
“You have to listen to him also,” Trump said, adding, “He totally denies it.”
Moore was accused by eight women of sexual misconduct or impropriety. He denied those claims.
Trump defended former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly after an April 1 New York Times report that described settlements he reached with five women who accused him of harassment. O’Reilly denied the misconduct claims.
Trump, who has known O’Reilly for years, told the Times that O’Reilly is “a person I know well” and “a good person” and that he didn’t think “Bill did anything wrong.”
“Personally, I think he shouldn’t have settled,” Trump said.
After Roger Ailes stepped down as Fox News chairman and CEO, Trump praised him and said, “He’s been a friend of mine for a long time.”
Ailes’ resignation came after former anchor Gretchen Carlson left Fox News on June 23 and, shortly afterward, filed a lawsuit against her former boss. Fox News and Ailes, who later died in May 2017, had denied Carlson’s allegations.
Carlson was one of several women, including Megyn Kelly, who came forward with allegations of impropriety against Ailes during his tenure at Fox. Then-candidate Trump came to his defense.
“Some of the women that are complaining — I know how much he’s helped them,” Trump said during an appearance on Meet the Press in July 2016.
He added, “Now all of a sudden, they are saying these horrible things about him. It’s very sad because he’s a very good person. I’ve always found him to be just a very, very good person.”
In March 2016, Trump’s then-campaign manager Corey Lewandowski was accused of grabbing a female reporter after a campaign event, and Trump’s campaign responded with a statement from then-campaign press secretary Hope Hicks saying the accusation was “entirely false.”
Trump himself weighed in two days later, after the March 10 Republican primary debate.
“Everybody said nothing happened. Perhaps she made the story up,” Trump said.
Weeks later, when charges were filed against Lewandowski, Trump tweeted and called Lewandowski “a very decent man” and said the footage of the incident showed “nothing there.”
Trump did not weigh in after Lewandowski was accused of sexual assault by singer and Trump supporter Joy Villa in December 2017.
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