As Jake Tapper opened a report about White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter and the accusations of wife-beating which prompted him to resign (effective sometime in the future), he spent a few minutes lamenting the degradation of morals and norms by this craven, hedonistic White House.
"There are basic lines of human decency, norms to which society generally agrees and to which we adhere and we continue to see the Trump presidency eroding these lines. Some of the people marching alongside Nazis in Charlottesville were 'very fine people,' Trump said, as he drew a line of moral equivalence of those who protested."
Citing specifics, he continued. "Days after one of those Nazis drove purposefully into a crowd and killed Heather Heyer. Or last fall when Roy Moore was accused by women of having sexually abused them when they were in high school. One of the them as young as 14."
Noting that most Republicans withdrew their support for Moore, Tapper pointed out that there was one exception: Donald Trump.
He continued, "To this list of those marching alongside Nazis and those accused of sexuall abuse of children, the White House has added someone accused by two ex-wives of spousal abuse."
It wasn't much of a surprise, either. "White house officials have been generally aware of the accusations that White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter has beaten his ex-wives."
Let that last sentence sink in. The guy is 40 years old, has been married twice, and both ex-wives accuse him of beating them, with one producing photographs of the black eye and swollen face he gave her.
Yet, Tapper notes, "Today the White House is still standing by Porter, attesting to his character and his excellence."
As further evidence of the moral decay in the White House, Tapper said, "I wanted to once again note a further erosion of standards for what I thought we had all agreed were unacceptable, not moral."
"White supremacist rallies, child molesters, domestic abusers," he listed. "Another moment where the White House is no longer considered a place of the highest standards in the land but rather a place where our national standards are being degraded."
As his final argument, Tapper outlined what we know about Porter and his former wives.
"This afternoon, White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter resigned over the objections of the White House. Following reports of spousal abuse, claims by two ex-wives, who told CNN that Porter abused them while they were married to him."
"One of them claims a black eye. Both shared their claims with the FBI during Porter's background check during Porter's background investigation. Moments ago, Sarah Sanders continued to stand by Porter saying the president has full confidence in his abilities and performance. Earlier Sanders said Porter was not pressured to resign. In fact, far from it."
Tapper then ran Sarah Huckabee Sanders telling reporters that Porter's resignation "was a personal decision that Rob made and one that he was not pressured to do but one he made on his own." Apparently, his departure date is unknown, too.
In a written statement, Porter denied the charges made by two women, one of whom produced photographic evidence, calling them both "vile" and liars, which is a telltale sign they are speaking the truth.
He wrote, "These outrageous allegations are simply false. I took the photos given to the media nearly 15 years ago and the reality behind them is nowhere close to what is being described."
"I have been transparent and truthful about these vile claims, but I will not further engage publicly with a coordinated smear campaign."
Huh. Coordinated smear campaign by whom? And why? Those black eyes didn't get that way all by themselves!
Read more about the ex-wives, the rumor that Porter is dating Hope Hicks, and more at the Daily Mail, who first broke the story.
The only part of Tapper's rant where I think he could have gone farther is the part where he limited the rot to Donald Trump. He should have extended his condemnation and outrage at the degradation of morals, ethics and norms to the entire Republican party. This is not unique to Donald Trump. It is a feature, not a bug, of the entire GOP.
If you don't believe that, then please note Senator Orrin Hatch's comment about it, when first told of the accusations, via The Daily Mail article.
“It’s incredibly discouraging to see such a vile attack on such a decent man,” Hatch said. “Shame on any publication that would print this — and shame on the politically motivated, morally bankrupt character assassins that would attempt to sully a man’s good name.”
And then after he saw the pictures of the black eye and swollen face, he altered his remarks a bit, to say that he was "praying for Porter and those involved" but that he was always a good guy around Hatch. Funny how he couldn't believe anything until the photographs.
In another disturbing development, both ex-wives say they were contacted last year by a woman Porter was dating at the time, asking for help, according to a CNN report.
"I work in politics, and despite Rob's repeated abuse, some of which I think many know about, he continues to rise and I'm afraid to go against him," the woman wrote to Holderness in December 2016. "I'm sorry to bother you. I wanted to reach out and hear your story if you are willing to share -- as well as how you broke out of it with him and mostly, how you recovered."
"Rob was abusive, degrading, a liar and a cheater and during the course of my relationship with him, I found out that he was to others, too," the woman wrote to Willoughby in February 2016. "I am just searching for someone who might be able to relate to the hell I have gone through."
The Daily Mail article has photographs of Hope Hicks having dinner with Porter, and him visiting her apartment for the night. It seems she has a type, too -- Republican men who abuse women. Donald Trump, Corey Lewandowski, and Rob Porter. Who knows how many others?
So yes, this is part and parcel of who Republicans are now. Misogynists who gloss over wife-beaters. Not a bug. A feature.