President Trump, in a pointed response to the uproar over charges of domestic violence by two top aides, cautioned Saturday that lives can be shattered by a “mere allegation” and asked whatever happened to “Due Process?”
It was his first tweet on the topic since he lauded his ousted staff secretary, Rob Porter, in brief remarks to reporters in the Oval Office Friday. He emphasized that Porter, who was forced to resign, had said “very strongly” that he was innocent.
The hour later, White House speechwriter David Sorensen also resigned over domestic abuse allegations. Sorensen has denied his wife’s claims.
Trump on Saturday redoubled his measured response to such charges, noting how damaging allegations can be.
“Peoples lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation,” he tweeted. “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?”
Trump did not mention Porter by name. Nor, like his Oval Office remarks, did he mention the ex-wives who went public with the charges of domestic abuse.
In response, Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., took to Twitter to blast the president’s position.
“Women’s lives are upended every day by sexual violence and harassment,” she wrote. “I’m going to keep standing with them, and trusting them, even if the President won’t.”
The president’s comments Friday were the first time he had spoken publicly about Porter since the allegations surfaced Wednesday in a report in the British tabloid The Daily Mail.
Trump said he was saddened by the charges but pointed out that Porter has denied the accusations.
“He also, as you probably know, says he’s innocent and I think you have to remember that,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office in an unscheduled photo-op. “We absolutely wish him well, he did a very good job when he was at the White House.”
Those pleas of innocence come despite public accusations by Porter’s former spouses, including one who produced photos of a black eye she said Porter gave her while in Italy. In a written statement sent through the White House press office Wednesday, Porter said he took those photos, but that “the reality behind them is nowhere close to what is being described,” he said. He did not elaborate.
Trump has long cautioned against jumping to conclusions in cases of alleged sexual misconduct, including those directed at him by more than a dozen women.
In December, White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders briefed reporters on Trump’s views after three of his accusers called on Congress to investigate his past behavior.
Huckabee noted that Trump has denied the women’s allegations, that any incidents took place a long time ago and that voters settled the discussion when they elected Trump.
“(Trump) thinks it’s a good thing that women are coming forward, but he also feels strongly that a mere allegation shouldn’t determine the course,” she said. “In this case, the president has denied any of these allegations.”
In November, Trump also cautioned against rushing to judgment toward Roy Moore, the then-candidate for the Senate in Alabama who had been accused of molesting a 14-year-old girl and sexually assaulting another teenager.
“He says it didn’t happen,” the president told reporters at the White House. “You have to listen to him, also.”
Contributing: Gregory Korte and Jessica Estepa in Washington