As the national conversation about sexual misconduct continues to unfold, and the backlash against those facing abuse allegations intensifies, Donald Trump now seems eager to take a side.
On Friday, for example, the president was asked about former White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter, who resigned following reports of his alleged abuse toward both of his ex-wives. Instead of denouncing domestic abuse, Trump highlighted what he saw as the most important elements of the Porter scandal: the former aide “worked very hard,” did “a very good job,” and is “very sad.”
Hours later, another White House staffer, speechwriter David Sorensen, also resigned following claims from his ex-wife that he was violent and emotionally abusive. Sorensen denies the allegations.
It’s against this backdrop that the president decided over the weekend to shed additional light on his views on recent developments, effectively offering a rejoinder to the #MeToo movement:
“Peoples lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation. Some are true and some are false. Some are old and some are new. There is no recovery for someone falsely accused – life and career are gone. Is there no such thing any longer as Due Process?”
There are some important problems with the president’s perspective. Trump may believe, for example, that those accused of misconduct can never recover, but he appears to be living proof to the contrary: despite the fact that he personally has faced allegations from a wide variety of women, Trump was nevertheless elected president.
For that matter, do you know what else often “shatters and destroys” people’s lives? Being the target of sexual misconduct and abuse. It’s the part of the equation about which Trump has very little to say.
But perhaps the most striking part of the president’s message was his sudden interest in “due process.”
Not to put too fine a point on this, but since when does Donald Trump care at all about due process? Has he forgotten his dangerous demagoguery surrounding the Central Park Five, whose execution he called for, despite the fact that they were innocent?
He was similarly indifferent toward due process when he vowed to imprison his political opponent during his rise to power in 2016 – leading chants of “lock her up” against a public official who, we now know, committed no crimes.
Men accused of misconduct toward women, however, are apparently the beneficiaries of the president’s skepticism. On this, he’s been eerily consistent.
There’s an enormous gender gap when it comes to Trump’s public standing. There’s no reason to assume he can’t make it worse.