Feb 10, 2018

Trump's history of defending the accused

Photo: Mandel Ngan / AFP / Getty Images

President Trump tweeted a vague defense this morning of those accused of sexual misconduct and abuse, stating that “lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation.”

Why it matters: This follows two White House staffers leaving this week over domestic abuse claims, and Trump has a long history of defending those close to him accused of sexual harassment or abuse — often reiterating that they are “fine” people — and it far outpaces his statements in support of accusers.

The context: Former White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter resigned this week following allegations of domestic abuse from his ex-wives. Porter’s departure was exacerbated by news of administration speechwriter David Sorensen’s resignation amid abuse allegations.

Rob Porter

After Porter resigned this week following his two ex-wives' abuse claims, Trump said during an Oval Office pool spray: "I think you also have to remember...he said very strongly yesterday he's innocent." Trump did not say anything about Porter's accusers.

Roy Moore

Trump said in November, after Moore was accused by several women of harassment and assault: "Let me just tell you, Roy Moore denies it. That's all I can say. He denies it. By the way, he totally denies it."

Corey Lewandowski

Trump's former campaign manager was accused of battery, and prompting the then-candidate to tell Good Morning America: "He is a fine person...He is a very good person. And I don't want to destroy a man, you know, if you let him go, you would destroy a man, destroy a family."

Roger Ailes

Trump said of Ailes, who was ousted as the CEO of Fox News in 2016 after several sexual harassment allegations, that he's "a very good person," and "that some of the women that are complaining, I know how much he's helped them, and even recently."

Bill O'Reilly

After the Fox News host was accused of sexual harassment and verbal abuse by a number of women, and made settlements worth millions, Trump said: "He is a good person...I don't think Bill did anything wrong."

Bill Clinton

Per ABC, Trump said in 1998: “I don't necessarily agree with his victims, his victims are terrible...He is really a victim himself. But he put himself in that position...The whole group, Paula Jones, Lewinsky, it's just a really unattractive group. I'm not just talking about physical."

Mike Tyson

Tyson was convicted of raping an 18-year-old in 1992, and while Trump said he was "totally opposed to...what happened," he also said: "You have a young woman that was in his room, his hotel room late in the evening at her own will. You have a young woman who was seen dancing for the beauty contest [the next day], dancing with a big smile on her face, looked happy as could be."


When he was accused of sexual harassment, he tweeted: "100% fabricated and made-up charges, pushed strongly by the media and the Clinton Campaign, may poison the minds of the American Voter. FIX!"

Worth noting: He has been accused of sexual misconduct by at least 22 women, per Business Insider, and was famously caught on an Access Hollywood hot mic detailing his strategy for sexually assaulting women.

One counter to this trend:

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Coronavirus dashboard

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  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 3 p.m. ET: 766,336 — Total deaths: 36,873 — Total recoveries: 160,001.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in confirmed cases. Total confirmed cases as of 3 p.m. ET: 153,246 — Total deaths: 2,828 — Total recoveries: 5,545.
  3. Federal government latest: The White House will extend its social distancing guidelines until April 30 — Rep. Nydia Velázquez diagnosed with "presumed" coronavirus infection.
  4. State updates: Virginia and Maryland issued stay-at-home orders to residents, joining 28 other states — Florida megachurch pastor arrested for refusing to call off mass services.
  5. World updates: Italy reports 1,590 recoveries from the virus, its highest ever.
  6. In photos: Navy hospital ship arrives in Manhattan
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

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Cuomo: Engaging in politics during coronavirus crisis is "anti-American"

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said during a Monday press briefing that he won't get into a political tussle with President Trump — calling it "counterproductive" and "anti-American" — as his state deals with the most confirmed coronavirus cases in the country.

The backdrop: Trump said during an appearance on "Fox & Friends" earlier Monday that Cuomo has received high polling numbers during the outbreak because New York has received federal aid.

Maryland and Virginia issue coronavirus stay-at-home orders

Data: Axios reporting; Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam issued stay-at-home orders on Monday, with exceptions for residents engaged in essential services, including health care and government functions.

The big picture: The states are the latest to announce policies to enforce social distancing, which have affected almost 250 million Americans. More than 1.5 billion people worldwide had been asked to stay home as of last week.

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