White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said she has “no reason not to believe the women” who accused staff secretary Rob Porter of domestic violence ― but then defended President Donald Trump, who has suggested that the allegations might not be true.
Porter resigned Wednesday following allegations from his two ex-wives that he had physically abused them. The revelation has roiled the White House, raising questions about the vetting process and how long Trump’s top advisers knew about the allegations.
Conway made the remark about having no reason to doubt Porter’s accusers in an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday. She also appeared on ABC’s “This Week,” where she seemed to validate Trump’s Friday remarks noting that Porter “says he’s innocent, and I think you have to remember that.”
Conway suggested Trump’s position on Porter reflects his feelings about the allegations numerous women have lodged against the president himself.
“The president believes, as he said the other day, you have to consider all sides,” she said. “He has said this in the past about incidents that relate to him as well.”
Conway also indicated that any furor over Trump’s comments doesn’t matter because Porter is now out of his job.
“You have to look at the result here, Rob Porter’s gone from one of the top aides to Donald Trump, our president, to no longer working” at the White House, she said. “I think the president, like the rest of us, were shocked and disturbed by the allegations.”
White House legislative affairs director Marc Short made similar arguments on NBC’s “Meet The Press” on Sunday, after host Chuck Todd showed a highlights reel of Trump suggesting many of the allegations of sexual abuse and physical assault by powerful men against women were false.
“I think the president is shaped by a lot of false accusations against him in the past,” said Short. “But in talking to the president I think he’s saddened about what happened with Rob. I think he’s very disturbed by it. And he’s very disappointed in it, and I think he believes the resignation was appropriate.”
“This Week” host George Stephanopoulos asked Conway about a tweet from Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) arguing that congressional hearings should be held for the women who have accused Trump of assault or abuse.
“Those accusers have had their day on your network and elsewhere for a long time,” Conway said. “I don’t need a lecture from Kirsten Gillibrand.”