President Donald Trump on Saturday said that lives were being ‘shattered’ by allegations that may be false after two of his White House aides quit over domestic abuse accusations.
Trump's White House has been heavily criticised for its handling of the allegations, which come amid a national debate over sexual misconduct and how it should be dealt with. Critics say the president's chief of staff, John Kelly, has badly mishandled the matter and that his future may be in doubt.
‘Peoples lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation,’ Trump tweeted.
‘Some are true and some are false. Some are old and some are new. There is no recovery for someone falsely accused - life and career are gone. Is there no such thing any longer as Due Process?’
The remark by the president — himself the target of numerous harassment claims — came after White House speechwriter David Sorensen resigned on Friday, even while denying his wife's claims of abuse.
And staff secretary Rob Porter stepped down Wednesday after abuse allegations from two former wives became public. He called the allegations ‘outrageous’ and ‘simply false’.
Trump not only accepted Porter's claim of innocence but praised him for doing ‘a very good job’ and offered his wishes for ‘a wonderful career’ ahead.
The president has stood by other men — including Roy Moore, the Alabama Republican who ran unsuccessfully for the US Senate — when they faced allegations of abuse or harassment, while rarely expressing sympathy for their women accusers.
He supported former Fox News executive Roger Ailes, who since has died, amid harassment allegations. And after Fox fired popular talk show host Bill O'Reilly amid reports of payouts over harassment claims, Trump called him ‘a good person’.
The president, meantime, has vociferously denied charges from more than a dozen women that he is guilty of sexual harassment or abuse.
His latest tweet comes at a time when many Republicans would prefer to see Trump keep the spotlight on a generally healthy economy and December's big tax cuts.
With key midterm elections approaching in November, they would also like to move away from the narrative of a White House in disarray. But the tweet Saturday suggests that the latest resignations — particularly Porter's — were jolting at the highest levels.
Porter worked directly with Kelly, the chief of staff, and was considered a skilled insider. Kelly's uneven response to the matter has raised questions about his future.
An FBI background check last year had uncovered the allegations of abuse by Porter, but he was allowed to remain in his job.
When those accusations became public on Tuesday — the Daily Mail of London published a photo of one of Porter's ex-wives with a black eye — Kelly at first strongly defended his aide.
He later issued a statement condemning domestic violence and saying he was ‘shocked’ by the new allegations. He insisted to White House officials that he had quickly pushed Porter out once the allegations proved credible, the Washington Post reported.
Others in the White House told the newspaper that Kelly — who was installed in his current post in July to help bring order and stability to the White House — had known of the complaints since October.
Sexual misconduct claims have brought down a growing list of influential men in politics, the media, the entertainment industry and other sectors since the scandal over decades of alleged abuse by Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein erupted in October.
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