It is like a broken record in politics. A powerful man is accused of a despicable and criminal act toward women. He emphatically denies the allegation and then . . . crickets. President Donald Trump cited Rod Porter’s claim of innocence and praised him and is now facing criticism over his failure to express concern for the women in the scandal.
In the meantime, Porter has not done the obvious thing if his two prior wives are indeed lying about his being a vile abuser of women . . . he has not threatened, let alone promised, a defamation action.
As I discussed with regard to the Roy Moore scandal, it is often telling who sues first in such controversies since clearly someone is not just a liar but a despicable liar. Moore has not filed his promised lawsuits, but he has been sued (Moore is trying to dismiss the lawsuits).
If these women ruined the career of one of the fastest rising stars in Washington, one would expect a notice letter from counsel promising an expedited libel lawsuit. After all, the denial of Porter seemed quite categorical (as are reports of his assurances given to White House personnel):
“These outrageous allegations are simply false. I took the photos given to the media nearly 15 years ago and the reality behind them is nowhere close to what is being described. I have been transparent and truthful about these vile claims, but I will not further engage publicly with a coordinated smear campaign.”
Ok, that is a good start to a denial. He is claiming that he took the photos and that the allegation is entirely false. But it leaves more questions like why he took the photos and whether he is denying that he did hit his wife.
Whether he “engages” or not, the media coverage will continue. After all, he has both former wives (and reportedly a live in girlfriend) giving damaging accounts of his conduct. Even by Washington standards, running through two spouses before you are out of your 40s is rather notable. Moreover, these very credible accusers are describing a similar pattern of behavior.
Moreover, he now has a president taking heat for him and a current lover, Hope Hicks, who is facing very serious questions of a conflict of interest over her involvement in the early (and later altered) spin on the scandal. Even his immediate boss, Gen. John Kelly, is facing calls for his resignation over his support for Porter based on his assertions of innocence. All of these people are now in harm’s way because they believe Porter’s claim that the photo and allegations are entirely false. Remaining silent is leaving these people to twist in the wind.
If he was defamed, one would expect two notice letters would have been sent by now to the women and at least one to the Daily Mail. If he is lying, he has left a pile of wreckage that now includes his current relationship, recently ended relationship, and his former bosses ranging from Sen. Orin Hatch to Gen. Jon Kelly to the President of the United States.
The story was first posted by Daily Mail. Both of Porter’s ex-wives described him as having a violent and angry disposition. His first wife, Colbie Holderness, said that he punched in her the face during a trip to Florence, Italy, in 2005. She produced the photos now circulating in the media.
What is curious is that the White House counsel and others knew of these allegations in 2017 and they have been linked to Porter’s failure to secured a clearance. Yet, at no time has Porter indicated that he would take legal action over any false statements.
If the allegations are “outrageous” and “untrue,” then file for defamation. Otherwise, this denial seems less credible and more tactical in this scandal.
What do you think?