On Monday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders addressed the controversy surrounding Rob Porter, the former White House staff secretary accused of domestic violence. Porter resigned last Wednesday after the allegations against him were detailed by his two ex-wives to the Daily Mail and The Intercept. The White House initially defended him against the reports, only to backtrack once The Intercept published graphic photos of one of the women with a black eye — images Porter admitted taking.
In the aftermath of the allegations and Porter's departure, President Trump himself reminded reporters Friday that Porter "says he's innocent." He also tweeted Saturday that "lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation."
Reading from prepared remarks Monday, Sanders insisted that Trump "supports victims of domestic violence and believes everyone deserves to be treated fairly and with due process." The press corps was not placated that easily, as ABC News' Cecilia Vega asked why Trump hadn't made any statement supporting the victims. "Why doesn't the president say exactly what you just said right there?" Vega asked. Sanders maintained that she was "relaying" Trump's words as dictated to her.
Vega pressed Sanders, asking, "Does [Trump] believe Rob Porter's accusers, or are they lying?" Sanders repeated that "the president … [takes] domestic violence very seriously" and is also a firm believer in "due process." When Vega pointed out that Sanders hadn't answered her question, Sanders replied, "I'm not going to go beyond that."
Watch the exchange below. Kelly O'Meara Morales
On whether Pres. Trump believes former White House staffer's accusers, Press Sec. Sanders tells @CeciliaVega Pres. Trump believes all allegations of domestic violence need to be thoroughly investigated. "I'm not going to go beyond that. That's where we are right now." pic.twitter.com/mdQR2C9tQm
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) February 12, 2018