Taking sides

Trump condemns lack of ‘due process’ in abuse allegations

President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House, February 9, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)

Days after two White House officials resigned amid allegations of domestic abuse, President Donald Trump appeared to voice his concern for what he described as the lack of “due process” in condemning the accused. His remarks prompted a backlash from some Democratic lawmakers, with one calling for Congressional hearings into the allegations of sexual misconduct that have been leveled at Trump.

“Peoples lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation,” Trump tweeted on Saturday, as The Washington Post reports. “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. Is there no such thing any longer as Due Process?”

Trump did not make mention of any specific case, but his comments came shortly after the White House was rocked by allegations against two Trump aides: staff secretary Rob Porter and speech writer David Sorenson. The ex-wives of both men have accused them of repeated abuse, including physical violence. Porter and Sorenson denied the allegations, but both men stepped down from their positions in the White House.

The president seemed to explicitly express his sympathy and support for Porter on Friday. “We certainly wish him well,” he told reporters. “It’s obviously a tough time for him. He did a very good job when he was in the White House, and hopefully he will have a great career ahead of him. He says he’s innocent, and I think you have to remember that. He said very strongly yesterday that he’s innocent, but you’ll have to talk to him about that.”

Trump has also been accused of sexual misconduct by more than a dozen women. He has denied those allegations.
Democratic Representative Jackie Speier of California was among those who condemned Trump’s statement. “I think his tweet shows utter contempt for women, and it’s incomprehensible to me that he has not been able to come out and say how vile domestic violence is and how it has no place in society and especially not in the White House,” she told the Post. “Not one word about that.”

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York went further in a pair of messages posted on Twitter, saying Trump’s “words and actions” show that “he doesn’t value women.” Gillibrand also called for a formal inquiry into the allegations against Trump. “If he wants due process for the over dozen sexual assault allegations against him, let’s have Congressional hearings tomorrow,” she wrote on Twitter.

As the Post points out, this is not the first time that Trump has come to the defense of men accused of misconduct and abuse. For example, after it was revealed that Fox News host Bill O’Reilly had paid millions of dollars to settle multiple harassment claims, Trump said he did not think O’Reilly had done “anything wrong.” The President also dismissed claims against Senate candidate Roy Moore, who allegedly pursued multiple underage girls when he was in his 30s. “He totally denies it,” Trump said. “He says it didn’t happen.”

On Sunday, White House adviser Kellyanne Conway defended Trump saying that the comment on Twitter wasn’t specifically referencing the #MeToo movement and that the president “is a man who show[s] great compassion and understanding for, for women on many different issues. I frankly wouldn’t work there if that were not the case. I could be dozens of other places for lots of money.”

Read the full story at The Washington Post.

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