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Thursday, June 21, 2018

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What Trump’s defense of Porter says about our system


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The scandal regarding staff secretary Robert Porter and his domestic abuse allegations broke recently and elevated another White House staffer to infamy. Porter left the administration, but President Donald Trump’s continual mention of his innocence, and the good work he did in his career and at the White House, alludes to the prioritization our president has.

He had a similar response to Roy Moore’s sexual harassment allegations. Trump fervently stands by these men, despite evidence and testimonies against their innocence. A president who proudly boasted his demeaning thoughts of women would obviously see little wrong with the actions of these men, especially when they continue to do work that services his means and strengthens his administration.

As a nation, we’ve grown relatively desensitized to scandals as our current administration has mass produced so many.  The implications of these mistakes and disgraces are more far-reaching than we realize.

Trump presents this perturbing logic with his reactions to this event: that it was a “tough time for him,” not for his ex wives whom he verbally and physically abused, but rather that being exposed for his horrible treatment of women is an inconvenience to the abuser. Trump is employing some sick distortion of a don’t ask, don’t tell policy that justifies these terrible actions.

The White House administration did not handle this incident competently nor were they unified. This was made obvious after it was confirmed that Chief of Staff, John Kelly, had been briefed on the allegations made against Porter repeatedly before they were publicly known. This indicates how little is communicated inside the White House.

Spokesman Raj Shah defended not firing him, and President Trump presented him as a man of integrity. This gut jerk reaction to defend the alleged before even investigating the allegations is representative of this administration as a whole: the combination of unqualified staff and morally reprehensible actions.

In Trump’s world, it is more important to retain this veteran of Washington politics than to place morally upright and good people in power.

It is usually tradition for the Oval Office to inherit veteran staffers from the previous administration, but Trump’s strategy of cleaning the house to “drain the swamp” has proven to be a serious foil of his administration. Several potentially promising administrators conceded any possibility of having a position in the White House by criticizing Trump in the early days of his campaign.

Porter was one of the few experienced and qualified individuals willing to work for Trump, and it seems Kelly didn’t want to lose someone remotely competent. The ethical issue of his home life was overshadowed by the necessity the administration had for a credentialed individual.

This story is evidence of all the issues the White House currently has: an incompetent staff, ridiculous priorities and the tendency for scandals.

This scandal is easy to tune out, because surely there will be another one in less than a few days. We have to focus and demand accountability for this administration and more importantly, the man who hired them all.

Opinion Editor Anusheh Siddique is a finance freshman and can be reached at [email protected]

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