John Kelly’s Liar File Keeps Getting Thicker and Thicker

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Rob Porter may be gone thanks to his history of domestic violence, but the White House continues to slip on its own banana peels. Today the Washington Post adds another tidbit to the “John Kelly is a liar” file:

During a staff meeting [this morning], Kelly told those in attendance to say he took action to remove Porter within 40 minutes of learning abuse allegations from two ex-wives were credible, according to the officials….“He told the staff he took immediate and direct action,” one of the officials said, adding that people after the meeting expressed disbelief with one another and felt his latest account was not true….At Friday’s meeting, Kelly also told subordinates to convey to other White House aides he cares about domestic violence, according to the officials.

I think it’s safe to say that (a) Kelly lied to his own staff about how quickly he took action, and (b) he lied about giving a shit about domestic violence.

Meanwhile, President Trump says it’s a sad time for Rob Porter and a sad time for the White House. Is it a sad time for the abused women too? Not so much. After all, Trump said, Porter claims he’s innocent. So, you know, maybe nothing happened.

While we’re on the subject, isn’t it odd that the White House never tried to defend Porter after news of his abuse became public? In cases of sexual harassment, you’re dealing with professional misconduct. It makes sense to fire someone who acts badly with subordinates. But you can make a case that (a) Porter’s actions were entirely private, (b) his second wife enthusiastically recommended that the White House keep him, (c) the actions were in the past and Porter regrets them, and (d) he deserves a second chance. Maybe you could even claim that Porter has gone through counseling¹ and then trot out Hope Hicks to say he’s been nothing but a total gentleman with her. I don’t know that this is a great case, but it seems like something you might at least try. Why didn’t they?

¹I assume this isn’t true, but that’s obviously never made a difference in the Trump White House.

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This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

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