Tuesday, March 27, 2018


I guess this report from Maggie Haberman shouldn't be surprising:
President Trump has stayed in touch with Rob Porter, the former White House staff secretary who stepped down after allegations that he had abused his two former wives came to light, according to three people familiar with the conversations, and has told some advisers he hopes Mr. Porter returns to work in the West Wing.

The president’s calls with Mr. Porter have increased in the last few weeks....

The president has told the advisers he has talked with that he knows he probably cannot bring Mr. Porter back. But he has made clear that he misses the staff structure that Mr. Porter had helped build and implement, a White House official said, speaking on background because advisers were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly....

It was not immediately clear how many conversations Mr. Porter has had with the president since leaving, but one person familiar with the discussions said they have talked about trade and how to navigate granting exemptions to the tariffs Mr. Trump announced last week.
Is Trump sympathetic to a man who's credibly accused of spousal abuse because he's an abuser himself? I don't think it's exactly that. Trump clearly doesn't care about Porter's ex-wives -- but he has talked as if he cares about the reported suffering of women who've accused Bill Clinton of abuse. I don't think he cares about any of those women either -- but on the other hand, I don't think he cares one way or another about Bill Clinton. For Trump, everything comes down to one question: What's in it for me?

Haberman writes:
[Trump] often sees aides who are subject to public criticism as extensions of himself, coming under fire because critics want to attack him, and he has described the Porter situation in those terms to some people, those briefed on the discussions said.
Trump clearly lacks empathy for Porter's ex-wives -- but I'm not sure it's accurate to say that he has an unhealthy empathy for Porter. It would be easy to say that Trump can relate to a fellow abuser, and that he agrees with Porter that women sometimes have abuse coming to them. I think it's Trump simply wanting what he wants when he wants it. He liked working with Porter. Porter has been taken away from him. That's what matters. When Trump, at the time of Porter's dismissal, complained that Porter had been denied "due process," I think what he meant is that he, Trump, had been denied due process. It's all about him.

I suspect that Trump's expressions of sympathy for Porter are almost as fake as his expressions of sympathy for Clinton's alleged victims. With women, Trump is a pig, but I'm not sure he genuinely relates to piggishness in other men. That's because he doesn't really think about other men. All he thinks about is himself.

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