Fresh off three bombastic interviews in the last week regarding the growing White House scandal surrounding allegedly abusive ex-aide Rob Porter, former Trump campaign adviser Steve Cortes is back at it again, this time claiming the president “empowers” women.
“President Trump’s silence [is] speaking volumes,” CNN’s Jim Scuitto, sitting in for host Erin Burnett, said at the top of the Tuesday night segment. “The White House says the president takes domestic violence seriously, but the president has yet to say so himself.”
Earlier in the day, Trump was notably stone-faced when a reporter asked him if he had a message for domestic violence survivors, and when responding to news of Porter’s resignation last Friday, he praised his former staff secretary and wished him well without mentioning his ex-wives who he allegedly abused.
Trump’s comments on Friday, coincidentally, were the subject of Cortes’ second-to-last CNN performance when he attempted to dismiss the president’s statement that lauded an alleged wife beater.
“I would like to hear him be more explicit,” Cortes told Scuitto and co-panelist Jen Psaki, a former White House communications director under President Barack Obama.
Psaki, however, noted that the president “was tweeting at 5:30 this morning” and had “multiple opportunities today” to make himself clearer.
“What that leads most people to believe is that he doesn’t think that the victims deserve a voice, that he doesn’t believe their story, that he finds it hard to believe that someone with a strong pedigree and resume would be capable of this,” she continued, “and that would be entirely consistent with his kind of record and background on these issues.”
Cortes said that although he agrees Trump needs to issue a more public show of support for domestic violence victims, he disagreed with Psaki’s description of his character.
“This is a man who has empowered women his entire life,” the former Trump campaign adviser said. “In his business career, certainly in his White House, and who’s making America better and more prosperous.”
He went on to make an apparent reference for former President Bill Clinton, saying it’s not the first time the White House was “fooled by a polished Rhodes scholar who looked like a golden boy but in fact, in [his] private life was actually a monster.”
“I’m not making a partisan point here,” Psaki rebutted. “[Trump’s] record is one of defending people like Bill O’Reilly, defending people like Roy Moore, defending people who victims and their advocates would consider as not exactly on the side of women.”
It would be “shocking and surprising,” she continued, if he admitted his and the White House’s fault in allowing Porter to continue to work in the administration in spite of their knowledge of his abuse allegations.
Watch the fiery exchange below, via CNN: