Pence tries to dismiss White House domestic violence scandal as a 'staffing matter'


Pence's lack of concern about such horrifying allegations is stunning, even by Trump administration standards.

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 loose 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 about the violence that Porter is accused of, and for which there are photographs.

During a press gaggle at Yokota Air Force Base on Wednesday, Pence was asked 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 stark, even by Trump administration standards.

But his claim not to have known about Porter's history highlights a deeper problem for Pence, who led the transition that hired Porter and would have been in a position to know that the FBI flagged his security clearance.

Pence has made a second career out of 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 name is missing from thousands of transition team emails that cover the time period during which Flynn, and Porter, were hired.

While Trump's entire administration is on the hook for defending Porter even after these allegations surfaced, Pence's hypocrisy is especially galling given his claims to moral purity, and the likelihood that he's lying about not having known about Porter from the start.