Donald Trump, the US president, said on Saturday that lives were being “shattered” by mere allegations, after two of his White House aides quit over accusations of domestic abuse.
Mr Trump said: “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?”
David Sorensen, a White House speechwriter, resigned after his ex-wife claimed he was violent and verbally abusive during their two year marriage. He denies the accusations, but said he was leaving the White House to avoid causing a distraction.
It followed the departure on Wednesday of Rob Porter, White House staff secretary, who resigned when two ex-wives came forward to accuse him of assault. He denied the “vile accusations” but has also left the Trump team.
Mr Trump, who has himself been accused of sexual misconduct, defended Mr Porter, saying he had done a “very good job” at the White House.
“It’s obviously, tough time for him. He did a very good job when he was in the White House. And we hope he has a wonderful career,” he said. He made no mention of the women who reported the abuse.
The remarks echoed Mr Trump’s previous defence of Roy Moore, the Alabama Republican and Bill O’Reilly, the Fox News host, who were both accused of sexual abuse or harassment.
Mr Trump’s White House has been strongly criticised over its handling of the abuse allegations against staff, with questions raised over when senior officials knew about the accusations.
John Kelly, the chief of staff brought in to impose order, has reportedly said he was prepared to resign over the matter, after he initially defended Mr Porter.
Hope Hicks, the 29-year-old White House communications director, also crafted initial statements backing Mr Porter – with whom she is reportedly romantically involved – leaving the president reportedly “frustrated” at her behaviour.
Separately, Mr Trump on Saturday defended a decision not to declassify a memo drafted by Democrats into his campaign’s possible collusions with Russia, saying it was “very political and long” and needed heavy redaction.
The memo was intended as a response to a Republican-drafted memo made public last week with Mr Trump’s consent, claiming bias against Mr Trump by the FBI and Justice Department.
Mr Trump’s decision to block its release infuriated Democrats, who said it showed a double standard on transparency.
The Democrats sent a very political and long response memo which they knew, because of sources and methods (and more), would have to be heavily redacted, whereupon they would blame the White House for lack of transparency. Told them to re-do and send back in proper form!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 10, 2018
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