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Photo: Jabin Botsford / The Washington Post / Getty Images

President Trump is defending Rob Porter even though, privately, he says he’s guilty.

Behind closed doors: The president has told multiple people that he believes the accusations about Porter, and finds him “sick.”

Four sources who have spoken directly with Trump tell me his private comments about ex-aide Porter — whose two ex-wives accused of violent attacks — have been brutal.

But his public comments don’t reflect that, at all.

  • This is the strongest indicator yet that Trump will reflexively defend his male allies from any and all accusations, even when he thinks those accusations are true.
  • Trump tells friends that he deplores the #MeToo movement and believes it unfairly exposes CEOs to lawsuits from their female employees. The fact that women frequently face sexual predation in the workplace doesn’t impact his view on this.

Behind-the-scenes: Porter appears to have crossed Trump’s red line. In the Oval Office, Trump read a print-out of the Daily Mail story with incredulity. He quickly turned on Porter. Trump said he was shocked that this clean-cut Harvard guy with the perfectly parted hair — “straight out of central casting” — could have violently attacked women.

Over the last few days, the president has told associates he believes Porter’s ex-wives’ accusations.

Trump has also told associates that he views men who beat their wives the same way he views child molesters: as “sick puppies.” (This sits uncomfortably beside the fact that Trump stood by accused child molester Roy Moore.)

He thinks there’s something wrong with them [men who attack their wives] and they never change... He thinks they can’t be reformed.
One source who has spoken with Trump about Porter.

But — at least in Porter’s case — he’ll still publicly back them up. On Friday, Trump expressed sympathy for Porter, praised his White House work, and made no mention of the women who say he attacked them.

Go deeper

Laurel Hubbard to become 1st openly trans athlete to compete at Olympics

New Zealand's Laurel Hubbard at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games in Australia, when she became the first openly transgender athlete to represent NZ. Photo: Scott Barbour/Getty Images

The New Zealand Olympic Committee has announced that Laurel Hubbard has been selected for the women's weightlifting team for the Tokyo Games — making her the first openly transgender athlete to compete at the event.

The big picture: Hubbard, 43, is part of a five-member Kiwi weightlifting team and will compete in the women's super heavyweight category. Meanwhile, BMX rider Chelsea Wolfe will become the first openly trans athlete to travel to the Olympics with Team USA, when she arrives in Tokyo as a reserve rider.

American Airlines cuts hundreds of flights amid demand surge

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

American Airlines announced Sunday that it's cutting some 950 flights from its schedule, including 296 this weekend, to reduce potential pressure on its operations, the Wall Street Journal first reported.

Driving the news: The U.S. vaccine rollout has led to a massive increase in travel bookings. The airline noted in an emailed statement that it's facing an "incredibly quick ramp up of customer demand."

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Florida Pride parade fatal crash a "tragic accident," police say

Participants walk away as police investigate the scene where a pickup truck drove into a crowd of people at a Pride parade in Wilton Manors, Florida, on Saturday. Photo: Jason Koerner/Getty Images

Police said Sunday they believe a driver unintentionally hit spectators at a weekend Pride parade in Wilton Manors, Florida, resulting in the death of one man and leaving another person hospitalized.

The latest: Addressing speculation that the crash may have been a hate crime against the LGBTQ community, Wilton Manors police chief Gary Blocker said in a statement: "Today we know yesterday's incident was a tragic accident, and not a criminal act directed at anyone, or any group of individuals."