On Monday morning, Fox & Friends‘ Ainsley Earhardt closed an interview with White House spokesman Hogan Gidley by begging him to urge President Trump to speak out more forcefully against domestic violence.
Alluding to the photographic evidence of domestic abuse that resulted in the ouster of former White House aide Rob Porter from his job last week, Earhardt asked Gidley, “Will you and Sarah Huckabee Sanders, will y’all get together and maybe advise [Trump] and talk to him about, this is an opportunity when he can come out against domestic violence? I mean those pictures are horrific.”
Gidley replied by noting that while the photos of Porter’s ex-wife sporting a black eye are “absolutely” horrific, “the president has been out against domestic violence for a long time.”
“The president deplores — he thinks that domestic violence is grotesque, he said that on multiple occasions, and there is no place for it in this country, there is no place for it in this White House, and the president won’t stand for it,” he said.
These are things that Trump has not said.
Instead of condemning domestic violence, Trump responded to the accusations against Porter on Friday by praising him and wishing him well. Then, on Saturday, Trump dismissed the allegations and strongly suggested that Porter had been wrongfully accused.
Peoples 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. Is there no such thing any longer as Due Process?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 10, 2018
Earlier during the Fox & Friends interview, host Brian Kilmeade asked Gidley why Trump seems unwilling to speak out publicly against domestic violence. Gidley replied by saying Trump “has been very clear” that he opposes “all forms of battery against women.”
“I don’t know if [Trump is] gonna say that publicly or not, and I have not spoken with the president about this, but I can say we lean on a process here at the White House and quite frankly, as soon as we found out about this on Tuesday, by Wednesday Rob Porter was gone,” Gidley said.
This wasn’t true. White House counsel Don McGann was informed about the allegations against Porter in January 2017 and Chief of Staff John Kelly was fully informed since last fall. Even after the allegations were made public, Kelly’s initial response was a full-throated defense of Porter.
“The president has been very clear that all forms of abuse, all forms of battery against women are deplorable and disgusting,” Gidley continued.
“But he hasn’t said that,” Kilmeade interjected.
“Right, but you haven’t talked to him today,” Gidley said.
Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah acknowledged last week that senior White House officials knew about the abuse allegations against Porter for months, but allowed him to stay on in his role handling sensitive White House documents anyway. Shah said the decision to move on from Porter was only made when the photo of his ex-wife with a black eye was published by media outlets.
Kilmeade and Earhardt had good reason to believe Trump was watching while they gently raked him over the coals on Monday. Trump frequently live-tweets Fox & Friends — including earlier Monday, when he responded to a segment with a tweet tagging the program’s account.