President Trump on Saturday appeared to side with men accused of domestic abuse or sexual misconduct, following a week of turmoil surrounding allegations of spousal abuse against two male aides that brought the national #MeToo movement inside the White House.
In a tweet, Trump questioned whether “due process” is being given to those accused of wrongdoing and expressed sympathy for their damaged careers and sullied reputations.
“Peoples lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation,” Trump tweeted Saturday morning. “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?”
The brief message, which made no mention of the accusers, marks the president’s most pointed response to the ongoing national reckoning with sexual harassment and abuse and put him seemingly at odds with a movement that in recent months has led to the downfall of several powerful men accused of abhorrent behavior.
Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), a leader in the effort to combat sexual harassment in Congress, said her stomach turned when she saw Trump’s tweet Saturday morning.
“The new mantra is ‘We believe the women,’ and he is frozen in ‘I believe the men,’ ” Speier said in an interview. “He’s beyond rehabilitation in my view.”
White House spokesmen did not respond to a request for comment about which cases Trump was referring to and whether he also thinks that the lives of accusers can be shattered and destroyed.
But Saturday’s tweet follows spousal abuse allegations against two Trump aides that roiled the White House over the past week. Both men left their posts despite denying the claims by ex-wives of physical and emotional abuse.
Trump did not mention the aides by name, and he did not specify what kind of “allegation” he meant. But the tweet seemed to respond directly to the departure Wednesday of staff secretary Rob Porter, whose two former wives publicly detailed abuse, as well as the departure Friday of speechwriter David Sorensen, whose ex-wife made similar claims.
Trump stressed to reporters Friday that Porter claims innocence, and he added that he hopes Porter “will have a great career ahead of him.”
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SOURCE: The Washington Post, Anne Gearan and Katie Zezima