Rob Porter’s Abused Ex-Wife: ‘Trump Will Not Diminish my Truth’

 
 

‘The Words ‘Mere Allegation’ and ‘Falsely Accused’ Meant to Imply That I am a Liar’

Jennie Willoughby, ex-wife of former White House staff secretary Rob Porter, has penned a remarkable piece in TIME in response to Donald Trump’s defense of her alleged abuser.

“On Friday, a friend and I watched as the President of the United States sat in the Oval Office and praised the work of my ex-husband, Rob Porter, and wished him future success,” Willoughby wrote. “I can’t say I was surprised.”

“But when Donald Trump repeated twice that Rob declared his innocence, I was floored,” she continued. “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.”

As NCRM reported on Friday, the president did indeed finally weigh in on the scandal. “We wish him well. He worked very hard," Trump said, defending Porter. He further noted that he found out about the allegations "recently," and that he was "surprised.”

“We certainly wish him well. It's obviously a tough time for him,” Trump continued. “He did a very good job when he was in the White House, and we hope he has a wonderful career, hopefully he will have a great career ahead of him.”

Trump’s commentary brought about quick backlash, but didn’t end there. On Saturday, the president tweeted that “lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation. Some are true and some are false. Some are old and some are new.”

“There is no recovery for someone falsely accused - life and career are gone,” he continued. “Is there no such thing any longer as Due Process?” Again, more backlash.

But none of the backlash has been as powerful as Willoughby’s, who wrote that “the words ‘mere allegation’ and ‘falsely accused’ meant to imply that I am a liar. That Colbie Holderness [the wife of the second White House official who resigned this week] is a liar.”

“That the work Rob was doing in the White House was of higher value than our mental, emotional or physical wellbeing,” she continued. “That his professional contributions are worth more than the truth. That abuse is something to be questioned and doubted.

She further advised that “of course” the White House and former colleagues had defended her ex-husband, noting that they “valued and respected him” and that “denial is easier than devastation.” She continued:

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. I forgive him. Thankfully, my strength and worth are not dependent on outside belief — the truth exists whether the President accepts it or not.

I think the issue here is deeper than whether Trump, or General John Kelly, or Sarah Huckabee Sanders, or Senator Orrin Hatch, or Hope Hicks, or whether anyone else believes me or defends Rob. Society as a whole has a fear of addressing our worst secrets. (Just ask any African-American citizen). It’s as if we have a societal blind spot that creates an obstacle to understanding. Society as a whole doesn’t acknowledge the reality of abuse.

The tendency to avoid, deny, or cover up abuse is never really about power, or money, or an old boys’ club. It is deeper than that. Rather than embarrass an abuser, society is subconsciously trained to question a victim of abuse. I would call it an ignorant denial based on the residual, puritan, collective agreement that abuse is uncomfortable to talk about.

“In light of the President’s and the White House’s continued dismissal of me and Colbie, I want to assure you my truth has not been diminished,” Willoughby concluded. “I own my story and now that I have been compelled to share it, I’m not willing to cover it up for anyone.”

She also shared her message for all victims of abuse. The entire piece, very much worth the read, can be found here.

Image via Twitter