President Donald Trump decried lives “being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation” at the end of a week that saw the departure of two White House aides amid accusations of domestic violence.
“There is no recovery for someone falsely accused – life and career are gone,” Trump tweeted. “Is there no such thing any longer as Due Process?”
Although Trump didn’t specify to whom he was referring, the tweet followed remarks the president made on Friday, when asked about the departure of White House staff secretary Rob Porter, who resigned after two ex-wives and an ex-girlfriend came forward to detail allegations of physical abuse. During his comments in the Oval Office, the president didn’t mention the women or address domestic violence, instead remarking that it was a “tough time” for his former aide.
“He did a very good job when he was in the White House,” Trump said. “And we hope he has a wonderful career, and hopefully he will have a great career ahead of him.” The president noted that note that Porter “said very strongly” that he was innocent of the alleged assaults.
The White House announced that speechwriter David Sorensen, who worked at the Council on Environmental Quality, had resigned after administration officials learned his ex-wife had accused him of physical abuse. Sorensen, too, has denied that he physically harmed his former partner.
At a time when the #MeToo movement has arisen as a way to help demonstrate the prevalence of sexual harassment and assault against women in the workplace and beyond, Trump’s comments were the latest in which he’s appeared willing to offer support to men accused of sexual impropriety.
The president endorsed Roy Moore, the Alabama Republican seeking a seat in the US Senate in 2017, despite multiple allegations that he initiated sexual encounters with minors. Trump also defended former Fox News anchor Bill O’Reilly, who was ousted from his job over sexual harassment claims.
The president himself has faced accusations—which he’s denied—from more than a dozen women of offenses including groping and non-consensual kissing.
‘Central Park Five’
Trump has been less supportive of “due process” in the past. In 1989, Trump placed full-page ads in New York newspapers calling for the execution of black and Latino teenagers accused of assaulting and raping a white woman in Central Park. The so-called “Central Park Five” were later exonerated by DNA evidence. Trump also repeatedly questioned the validity of former President Barack Obama’s birth certificate, despite no credible evidence to dispute the fact Obama was born in Hawaii in 1961.
He’s come to the defense, though, of people including Michael Flynn, his former national security adviser, who pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about contacts he had with the Russian government.