CNN’s Jake Tapper on Tuesday dismantled the White House talking points surrounding former staff secretary Rob Porter, accusing the Trump administration of lying to the American people to cover up for a man accused of beating two of his ex-wives.
“We are now one full week into the domestic abuse scandal involving now-former White House staff secretary Rob Porter, and yet the American people still do not know who knew what, and when, and why,” Tapper began during his monologue on “The Lead.”
Tapper noted the American people have “questions that the White House refuse to answer,” noting the administration would like to“ lead to you believe they've been nothing but clear and consistent on this issue.”
Tapper pointed out Chief of Staff John Kelly’s self-praise claiming the White House’s response to Porter “was all done right.”
“That’s just wrong,” Tapper explained.
“Just since yesterday we've learned more that suggests the White House has not told the American people the full truth,” Tapper continued. “From the White House podium yesterday, Sarah [Huckabee] Sanders painted a rosy picture of a White House motivated by a clear sense of right and wrong, seeking to remove—with clarity and purpose—someone who had been accused of abhorrent behavior.”
“What that narrative does not acknowledge is that the initial response from the White House was to prop up Porter and stand by Porter,” the CNN host added,
Tapper then turned to an off-the-record interview between Porter and four top White House reporters, which occurred after “that black eye photograph of Porter’s first wife was published.”
“Whatever the motivations, make no mistake,” Tapper said of that interview. “This was the communications staff of the White House facilitating an opportunity for an accused domestic abuser to tell journalists … that his ex-wives were liars. All of it paid for by your tax dollars, and a clear contradiction to the narrative the White House is now pushing—that once they saw the black eye photo, Porter was essentially shown the door.”
Noting FBI Director Chris Wray’s testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Tapper noted there’s yet another contradiction to the White House’s timeline. Wray told Congress on Tuesday, “the FBI submitted a partial report on the investigation in question in March and then a completed background investigation in late July.”
Rolling footage of Huckabee Sanders at Tuesday’s press briefing, Tapper said the press secretary “acknowledged the FBI had finished the process” but shifted the blame to career officials “internally at the White House.”
“Okay, everyone got that?” Tapper asked. “So today, a process that was not completed was the one that was internal, at the White House, the white house personnel office. That, of course is the exact opposite of what Sanders said just 24 hours ago.”
“Take a listen,” he said, rolling a clip of Huckabee Sanders saying the background process had not been completed by the FBI.
“The White House has yet to be forthright and transparent with the American people about how this happened,” Tapper said. “The most clarity we have gotten so far might be from President Trump himself who has wished Porter well in his future but has not said or written one single word of support for the victims of his alleged abuse, or for survivors of domestic violence in general. Instead, we’ve been misled and and we've been lied to time and again. And for what?”