Jennie Willoughby, the second ex-wife of former White House aide Rob Porter, has published an op-ed in Time that attacks President Donald Trump for his reaction to the accusations against he ex-husband.
On Friday, journalists asked Trump about Porter. In response, Trump said that it was “sad” that Porter had left. He also said Porter had done a good job in the White House, and noted that Porter had proclaimed his innocence:
We found out about it recently, and I was surprised by it, but we certainly wish him well, and it’s a tough time for him. He did a very good job when he was in the White House. And we hope he has a wonderful career and he will have a great career ahead of him. But it was very sad when we heard about it, and certainly, he’s also very sad now. He also, as you probably know, says he’s innocent, and I think you have to remember that. He said very strongly yesterday that he’s innocent, so you have to talk to him about that, but we absolutely wish him well. He did a very good job when he was at the White House.
Willoughby writes in response:
[W]hen Donald Trump repeated twice that Rob declared his innocence, I was floored. What was his intent in emphasizing that point? My friend turned to me and said, “The President of the United States just called you a liar.”
Yes. And so he did.
Ultimately, this is not a political issue. This is a societal issue, and the tone has just been reset by the White House. If the most powerful people in the nation do not believe my story of abuse in the face of overwhelming evidence, then what hope do others have of being heard?
While I may have compassion for my ex-husband and recognize his need for help, I do not tolerate abuse. While I may understand President Trump and [Chief of Staff] Gen. [John] Kelly’s incredulity at such a counter-image of their golden boy, I do not condone their choice to support him.
Despite Willoughby’s declaration that the issue is non-political, her op-ed has a distinct political edge to it (“Everyone wants to talk about how Trump implied I am a not to be believed. As if Trump is the model of kindness and forgiveness. As if he readily acknowledges his own shortcomings and shows empathy and concern for others.”).
Critics have noted, however, that Trump did not acknowledge the suffering of abuse victims in his comments, thus creating an opening for political opponents.
Willoughby had written about her abuse before, though she had not identified her former spouse by name.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. He was named to Forward’s 50 “most influential” Jews in 2017. He is the co-author of How Trump Won: The Inside Story of a Revolution, is available from Regnery. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.