Punch and Bam Bam

Michelle Goldberg is forced to conclude that the Trump administration thinks violence against women just doesn’t matter all that much.

Even if you put aside questions of morality — which most people working for Donald Trump have already done — a staff secretary who can’t qualify for a security clearance because of his personal life is a serious security risk. Among other things, such a person could be subject to blackmail.

The staff secretary reads everything that goes to the president’s desk; it’s one of the most sensitive jobs in government. Rajesh De served as Barack Obama’s staff secretary from 2010 to 2012, after which he joined the National Security Agency as general counsel. “I was exposed to a far wider array of classified and sensitive information in the White House job than as the top lawyer at the National Security Agency,” he told me.

It’s hard to see why Kelly, who was supposed to be the disciplined adult in this administration, would cover for Porter. Unless, that is, he genuinely couldn’t grasp that domestic violence is a big deal.

He doesn’t think it’s a big deal to tell ugly lies about an African-American member of Congress and then refuse to withdraw or apologize for them after journalists document what lies they are. His moral compass points to Whatev.

To be fair to Kelly, this administration has made it clear that it’s not. Steve Bannon, Trump’s former chief strategist, was charged with misdemeanor domestic violence, battery and dissuading a witness after a 1996 altercation with his second wife; the case was dismissed when she didn’t show up to testify against him. According to reporting by Politico’s Eliana Johnson, the abuse charges were the origin of Trump’s derisive nickname for Bannon: “Bam Bam.”

Hoho, isn’t that adorable. What’s Bannon’s nickname for Trump, Yanky?

Porter and both of his ex-wives are Mormons, and, speaking to The Intercept, Willoughby described confiding in a Mormon official about her husband’s fits of rage. She was told to think about how Porter’s career might suffer if she spoke out. Powerful people in Washington seem to have been similarly worried, first and foremost, about protecting the ambitious and pedigreed young man.

Porter once worked for Senator Orrin G. Hatch, Republican of Utah, and in The Daily Mail, the senator categorically dismissed the accusations and, whether he meant to or not, the women making them. “Shame on any publication that would print this — and shame on the politically motivated, morally bankrupt character assassins that would attempt to sully a man’s good name,” he said.

Sullying a woman’s face with punches is apparently a much smaller infraction.

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