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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is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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