Mike Pence’s twisted sense of morality won’t allow him to be alone with a woman without his wife present, but leads him to refer to a roiling domestic abuse scandal as merely a “White House staffing matter.”
Donald Trump and his highest-ranking officials rushed to defend now-ousted White House senior staffer Rob Porter against multiple allegations of domestic violence, from two ex-wives and one girlfriend.
Chief of staff John Kelly released a statement reiterating his previous statement of support of Porter but added that he was “shocked” by the allegations, while the White House cut Porter lose after previously stating that he would stick around to ease the transition.
But even hours after those developments, Pence couldn’t muster a syllable of outrage regarding the violence that Porter is accused of, and for which you can find photos.
During a press gaggle in Yokota Air Force Base on Wednesday, Pence was requested to comment on the scandal and the fact that the White House knew of the allegations when Porter was subjected to an FBI background check in February 2017 when he joined the administration.
Pence immediately tried to change the subject. “We’re standing at Yokota Air Force Base in Japan; we’re on our way to the Olympics.”
Pence added that he learned “of those developments” that morning. “And so we’ll comment on any issues affecting White House staff when we get back to Washington.”
Another reporter asked Pence why he “often seem[s] a little bit out of the loop of some of this major news.”
Pence tried to change the subject again. “You know, it’s a great honor for me to serve as vice president,” Pence responded.
“President Trump has been incredibly generous with the responsibilities and opportunities he’s given me to serve, representing the United States on the foreign stage, as we have here in Japan, as we will later today in South Korea, and of course at the Olympics, and also being involved in the legislative process. And I’m very grateful for that.”
He concluded, “But we’ll leave those White House staffing matters for when we get back to Washington.”
Pence’s lack of concern about these allegations is crude, even by Trump government standards.
But his claim not to have known about Porter’s background highlights a deeper issue for Pence, who headed the transition that hired Porter and would have been in a position to understand that the FBI flagged his security clearance.
Pence has made a second career from being left out of the loop, claiming he knew nothing of Michael Flynn’s foreign contacts, despite having been warned about them by Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD). His title is overlooking thousands of transition team emails that cover the time period during which Flynn, and Porter, were hired.
While Trump’s entire government is on the hook for defending Porter even after these allegations surfaced, Pence’s hypocrisy is especially galling given his promises to moral innocence, and also the likelihood that he’s lying about not having known about Porter from the beginning.