Speaking to reporters from the Oval Office, the president repeatedly wished Porter well, saying, “he did a very good job when he was in the White House, and we hope he has a wonderful career, and hopefully he will have a great career ahead of him, but it was very sad when we heard about it, and certainly he’s also very sad now.”
“He also, as you probably know, he says he’s innocent, and I think you have to remember that,” Trump added. “He said very strongly yesterday that he’s innocent.”
Immediately following Trump’s remarks, CNN’s Dana Bash unloaded on the president for his “tone-deaf” response.
“Look, I don’t know why I’m surprised, because I shouldn’t be surprised,” Bash said, “because particularly with issues like this, accusations on a personal level, the president tends to rally around the person being accused, because, and he has told many a friend this, because he felt like he has been falsely accused.”
“Having said that, the fact that he did not mention one word, one syllable, about these two women, plus apparently an ex-girlfriend, particularly the ex-wives, who are talking in great detail about abuse—physical, verbal abuse—is outrageous,” she continued. “I mean, I'm sorry, it just is. It just is. It is tone-deaf to the times, it is tone-deaf to the situation that he has had—which is a person who has been in the closest proximity possible to this man alleged to have done some pretty horrible things.”
One of Porter’s ex-wives, Jennie Willoughby, appeared on CNN the night before and told Anderson Cooper about the abuse she suffered in a excruciating detail. Willoughby also said she feared for Porter’s current girlfriend, White House Communications Director Hope Hicks, warning, “If he hasn’t already been abusive with Hope, he will be.”
“To not even have a nod to that and instead just profusely, effusively praise the work that Porter did, is just sad,” Bash said.
David Gregory agreed with Bash, saying Trump’s words are “part of a pattern of how this White House and how the Republicans rallying around this president have come to the aid of anyone accused of sexual misconduct or abuse and not thought about those who are on the other end of it.”