When the Rob Porter domestic abuse scandal and John Kelly coverup scandal truly hit the fan last Wednesday night, it was announced that White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was going on vacation and that the next day’s uniquely difficult press briefing would be handled by her ill prepared underling Raj Shah. We never did figure out the legitimacy of that conveniently timed “vacation” but Huckabee Sanders is back now, and she’s making the scandal even worse.
This scandal was ugly enough when it was strictly about a White House aide having been accused of domestic violence by his two ex-wives, one of whom had brutal photos and a restraining order. Then it became a whole different kind of scandal once it came to light that Kelly knew all about the situation and went to great lengths to try to cover it up and keep Porter on the job. Now, thanks to Huckabee Sanders, it’s become something else.
It was Anderson Cooper of CNN who phrased it best today during an on-air report, when he used the same word that reporter Lauren Duca used a year ago with regard to this administration. Sarah Huckabee Sanders is now attempting to “gaslight” all of us over the Porter scandal. Just a few days ago Donald Trump publicly insisted that we should all believe Porter’s denials instead of believing the women accusing him, while suggesting that Porter was the real victim. Now Huckabee Sanders is insisting that Trump and his White House “take domestic violence very seriously and believe all allegations need to be thoroughly investigated.”
Uh, no. That’s not even close to Donald Trump’s own recently stated position on the issue. In fact it’s the precise opposite. Sarah Huckabee Sanders is trying to convince us that Trump said the opposite of what he said. Cooper is correct: they’re trying to gaslight us. Rob Porter has resigned. This isn’t about him anymore. It’s about Trump and his White House not only publicly taking the wrong side on domestic violence, but then trying to convince us that it’s not happening.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report