The White House is the Swamp
You just can’t make this stuff up.
White House Communications Director Hope Hicks is dating White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter.
Porter just resigned after being accused by both of his ex-wives of domestic abuse.
â€” Los Angeles Times (@latimes) February 7, 2018
The Intercept’s Ryan Grim tweeted these photos earlier today:
Senior White House aide Rob Porter physically assaulted two ex-wives, they tell @theintercept. Full story to come in the morning.
His first wife, Colbie Holderness, provided these photos from a vacation they took together in Florence, Italy: pic.twitter.com/tl3TbyGA8Y
â€” Ryan Grim (@ryangrim) February 7, 2018
Before Porter resigned the White House issued a statement in support of Porter, despite the graphic allegations that came with photos allegedly proving the reported physical domestic abuse.
Also issuing a statement supporting Porter was the office of Republican Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah.
As it turns out, Hicks allegedly helped draft the statements of support for Porter.
White House communications director Hope Hicks, who has been in a romantic relationship with Rob Porter, was involved in crafting the response to the allegations of domestic abuse leveled against Porter on Tuesday, two sources familiar with the matter tell me
â€” Jeremy Diamond (@JDiamond1) February 7, 2018
Some are wondering if Hicks drafted the statement from Senator Hatch â€“ more on that in a bit.
Here we go.
On Tuesday, Trump chief of staff John Kelly “strongly defended White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter against disturbing allegations, first published in the Daily Mail, that he abused his ex-wives,” Vanity Fair’s Gabriel Sherman reports.
“Yesterday,” Sherman continues, “Porterâ€™s second wife, Jennifer Willoughby, told the Mail that Porter called her a ‘fucking bitch’ on their honeymoon, and once pulled her naked out of the shower. In response, Kelly put out a statement calling Porter ‘a man of true integrity and honor’ and a ‘trusted professional.’ But shortly after Kelly rallied behind his colleague, Porterâ€™s first wife came forward with additional harrowing allegations.”
Colbie Holderness, who married Porter in 2009, told the Daily Mail that Porter punched her in the face and choked her, among other alleged abuses. The article included a photo of her with a black eye. â€œIt was not hard enough for me to pass out, but it was scary, humiliating, and dehumanizing,â€ she said. Porter told the Daily Mail that the allegations were â€œslanderous and simply false.â€
Sherman writes, “last week, [Porter] emerged when the Daily Mail reported heâ€™s dating White House Communications Director Hope Hicks.”
“In a series of crisis meetings, the statement was drafted by Hicks, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and Kushnerâ€™s White House spokesman, Josh Raffel.”
But wait, there’s more.
In a statement Wednesday White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said,Â â€œRob Porter has been effective in his role as staff secretary. The president and chief of staff have full confidence in his abilities and his performance.â€
Politico reports White House Chief of staff John Kelly “was previously aware of the 2010 protective order, which prevented Porter from getting a full security clearance.”
So, there was an order of protection against Porter, and he did not have a full security clearance>
“As staff secretary, Porter handled every document signed by the president,” Politico reports.
That seems to be a problem.
Then there’s this from Business Insider.
“Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah performed a remarkable about-face on Wednesday after the second major news outlet in a row published allegations of spousal abuse against Rob Porter, Hatch’s former chief of staff.”
When the Daily Mail approached Hatch for comment on the Porter allegations, Hatch berated the outlet for publishing the claims and praised Porter as “kind and considerate” and “principled.”
“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 â€” and shame on the politically motivated, morally bankrupt character assassins that would attempt to sully a man’s good name.”
Later, Hatch “issued a remarkably different response.
“I am heartbroken by today’s allegations. In every interaction I’ve had with Rob, he has been courteous, professional, and respectful. My staff loved him and he was a trusted advisor,” Hatch said.Â “I do not know the details of Rob’s personal life. Domestic violence in any form is abhorrent and unacceptable.”
Some are wondering if Hicks drafted the first hatch response.
Orrin Hatch statement released by the White House was nothing like the one he later released. Hope Hicks is in charge of messaging & dates Rob Porter.
Trump’s statement by Stormy Daniels was later disputed by Stormy Daniels.
They’re just printing what they want at this point.
â€” Karen DaltonBeninato (@kbeninato) February 7, 2018
Another disturbing part of this story is Hope Hicks, who is dating Porter, may have fabricated a statement from a senator – Hatch – in defense of Porter. This regime has no respect for boundaries. https://t.co/ywnz2USjTZ
â€” Amy Siskind (@Amy_Siskind) February 7, 2018
If all this weren’t enough, The Washington Post’s Kathleen Parker, a conservative journalist reporting since 1977, is wondering how John Kelly let all this happen:
There he goes . . . Rob Porter, WH aide who allegedly abused two wives, has left the building. Now, what about COS John Kelly? The FBI conducted background check on Porter and White House knew about the allegations. Hello? Is anyone home over there?#RobPorter #HopeHicks
â€” kathleenparker (@kathleenparker) February 7, 2018
It’s only Wednesday.
Image via Wikimedia
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Sean Spicer Bitterly Complains the Press Is Treating Jen Psaki Better Than They Did Him
As part of a deep dive into the growing popularity of White House press secretary Jen Psaki who has a legion of admirers on social media due to her handling of press, former Donald Trump press secretary Sean Spicer complained to the New York Times that she has gotten a free pass from the media that he never got.
According to the report, even Peter Doocy of Fox News had high praise for Psaki despite his almost daily battles with Psaki that have become widely shared on Twitter and evening newscasts.
“It never feels like I’m getting smacked down or vice versa,” Doocy admitted. “I understand why it looks like that, some of the ways that stuff gets clipped, but it doesn’t feel like that in the room.”
He added, “When I got back from my wedding she made a point to tell everybody in the briefing room that I just got married. That’s a transcript I can print out and show to my kids one day.”
As for Spicer, who eventually resigned following combative press conferences that were famously mocked on Saturday Night Live — with actor Melissa McCarthy portraying a bullying and manic Spicer — he thinks he was held to a higher standard than the current press secretary.
“‘I walked into the lion’s den every day — she walks into a bunch of kittens,'” Sean Spicer, Mr. Trump’s first press secretary and now the 6 p.m. anchor on Newsmax, said in an interview,” the Times’ Michael Grynbaum wrote.
Spicer also took exception to Psaki taking a dig at him during a press conference after President Joe Biden asked him to resign from the board of the United States Military Academy when she was asked about his performance in her job as well as appearances by Kellyanne Conway defending Donald Trump.
Psaki replied, “I will let others evaluate whether they think Kellyanne Conway and Sean Spicer and others were qualified.”
That led Spicer to complain, “Jen chose to stand and question my qualifications and services to this country. Once she did that, the gloves were off.”
You can read more here.
GOP Gov. Kristi Noem Won’t Make Kids Wear Masks in Schools But She Is Trying to Make Them Pray
South Dakota’s Republican Governor Kristi Noem refuses to mandate masks for schoolchildren and teachers but she’s trying to make students pray in public. Gov. Noem, who is widely expected to run for president in 2024, has let the coronavirus run rampant in her state of just 886,667 people – a population so small New York City’s is ten times larger. And yet coronavirus is running rampant in South Dakota, which ranks number eight in the nation for coronavirus cases per capita.
Governor Noem just made clear she does not see herself as a government or political leader, but as a religious one. Speaking to Real America’s Voice personality David Brody, Noem declared she will bring back prayer in schools (even though voluntary prayer has always been legal) and thinks political leaders are supposed to “minister” to their constituents.
Complaining that the actions other government leaders are taking “are not biblical,” Noem says they are supposed to “line up with God,” which is false.
“I think that it’s really time for all of us to look at the actions of our leaders and see if they line up with the word of God,” Noem said, “see if they’re biblical and if they really are following through on those actions that God’s called us to do to protect people, to serve people, and to really minister to them.”
Protecting, serving, and ministering – but not in the fight against the deadly pandemic.
“We’ve seen our society, our culture, degrade, as we’ve removed God out of our lives, and people become what they spend their time doing,” Noem declared. “When I was growing up, we spent every Sunday morning, every night, every Wednesday night in church, we were our church, family was a part of our life, we read the Bible every day as a family together, and spent time with each other, recognizing that we were created to serve others.”
Again, Noem makes clear she does not believe serving and protecting others has anything to do with COVID-19.
“I don’t know families do that as much anymore and those biblical values are learned, in the family, And they’re learned in church when the doors are open so people can be there and be taught.”
“We in South Dakota, have decided to take action to really stand for biblical principles. We had a bill that was passed during legislative session two years ago that put the the motto ‘In God We Trust’ in every single school building it is displayed. Now in every K-12 school building in the state of South Dakota.
“I have legislation that we’ll be proposing this year that will allow us to pray in schools, again, I really believe that focusing on those foundational biblical principles that teach us that every life has value every person has a purpose will recenter our kids and help us really heal this division that we see taking over our country.”
MSNBC’s Steve Benen notes, “given that the United States is a democracy, and not a theocracy, officials’ actions are supposed to line up with the Constitution and the rule of law, not how some people interpret scripture.”
“What the governor seemed to be suggesting, however, isn’t a system in which students pray on their own,” he adds, “but one in which school officials intervene in children’s religious lives. In the United States, that’s not legal: As my friends at Americans United for Separation of Church and State recently explained, ‘The South Dakota Supreme Court struck down mandatory recitation of the Lord’s Prayer in the state’s public schools in 1929. The U.S. Supreme Court invalidated school-sponsored prayer and Bible reading in public schools in 1962 and ’63.'”
South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem says the positions taken by political leaders must "line up with the word of God" and brags about pushing for prayer in public schools. pic.twitter.com/DRd2MJaKZw
— Right Wing Watch (@RightWingWatch) September 17, 2021
Architect of Texas Abortion Ban Also Criticized ‘Court-Invented Rights to Homosexual Behavior and Same-Sex Marriage’
The architect of what is now Texas law, Governor Greg Abbott‘s “heartbeat” legislation that bans all abortion after six weeks, attacked the constitutional rights of same-sex couples to marriage, and sex between persons of the same sex, in a brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court this past summer. In that brief he also called same-sex marriage a “judicial concoction,” and argued that women should merely abstain from sexual intercourse as a method to “control their reproductive lives.”
Former Texas solicitor general and Federalist Society member Jonathan Mitchell, The Guardian reports, “who played a pivotal role in designing the legal framework of the state’s near-total abortion ban, also argued on behalf of anti-abortion group Texas Right to Life that women would still be able to terminate pregnancies if Roe was overturned by traveling to ‘wealthy pro-abortion’ states like California and New York with the help of ‘taxpayer subsidies.'”
“Women can ‘control their reproductive lives’ without access to abortion; they can do so by refraining from sexual intercourse,” Mitchell wrote in the brief. “One can imagine a scenario in which a woman has chosen to engage in unprotected (or insufficiently protected) sexual intercourse on the assumption that an abortion will be available to her later. But when this court announces the overruling of Roe, that individual can simply change their behavior in response to the court’s decision if she no longer wants to take the risk of an unwanted pregnancy.”
“In the same brief, which calls for Roe to be overturned,” The Guardian adds, “Mitchell and co-counsel Adam Mortara, an anti-abortion activist and lawyer who clerked for the supreme court justice Clarence Thomas, said such a decision could open the door for other ‘lawless’ rights and protections to be reversed, including the right to have gay sex and the right to same-sex marriage.”
In their July, 2021 Supreme Court amicus brief, Mitchell and Mortara also call “interracial marriage” one of several “supposed constitutional ‘rights’ that have no basis in constitutional text or historical practice.” Among them, “court-imposed ‘substantive due process’ rights whose textual and historical provenance are equally dubious.”
On same-sex marriage and sex their opinion was devastatingly ruthless.
“The news is not as good for those who hope to preserve the court-invented rights to homosexual behavior and same-sex marriage,” the amicus brief reads. “These ‘rights,’ like the right to abortion from Roe, are judicial concoctions, and there is no other source of law that can be invoked to salvage their existence.”
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