Listen Download Podcast
  • RFI English News flash 04h00 - 04h10 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 02/25 04h00 GMT
  • Paris Live AM 04h10 - 04h30 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 02/25 04h10 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 05h00 - 05h10 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 02/25 05h00 GMT
  • Paris Live AM 05h10 - 05h30 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 02/25 05h10 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 06h00 - 06h10 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 02/25 06h00 GMT
  • Paris Live AM 06h10 - 06h30 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 02/25 06h10 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 06h30 - 06h33 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 02/25 06h30 GMT
  • Paris Live AM 06h33 - 06h59 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 02/25 06h33 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 07h00 - 07h10 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 02/25 07h00 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 07h30 - 07h33 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 02/25 07h30 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 14h00 - 14h03 GMT Sat-Sun
    News bulletin 02/25 14h00 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 14h00 - 14h06 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 02/23 14h00 GMT
  • Paris Live Weekend 14h03 - 14h30 GMT Sat-Sun
    Features and analysis 02/25 14h03 GMT
  • Paris Live PM 14h06 - 14h30 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 02/23 14h06 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 14h30 - 14h33 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 02/25 14h30 GMT
  • Paris Live PM 14h33 - 14h59 GMT Mon-Fri
    Features and analysis 02/25 14h33 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 16h00 - 16h03 GMT Sat-Sun
    News bulletin 02/25 16h00 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 16h00 - 16h06 GMT Sat-Sun
    News bulletin 02/23 16h00 GMT
  • Paris Live Weekend 16h03 - 16h30 GMT Sat-Sun
    Features and analysis 02/25 16h03 GMT
  • RFI English News flash 16h30 - 16h33 GMT Mon-Fri
    News bulletin 02/25 16h30 GMT
  • Paris Live Weekend 16h33 - 17h00 GMT Sat-Sun
    Features and analysis 02/25 16h33 GMT
To take full advantage of multimedia content, you must have the Flash plugin installed in your browser. To connect, you need to enable cookies in your browser settings. For an optimal navigation, the RFI site is compatible with the following browsers: Internet Explorer 8 and above, Firefox 10 and +, Safari 3+, Chrome 17 and + etc.
Afp

Trump praises White House aide accused of domestic abuse

By AFP
media US President Donald Trump praised his embattled former aide Rob Porter AFP

Donald Trump praised Friday a former aide accused of battery, amid a scandal that called into question the president's judgment and tainted his chief of staff John Kelly and long-time aide Hope Hicks.

Allegations against ousted staff secretary Rob Porter prompted a litany of questions about the president's recruitment and the ethics of those running the world's only superpower.

Porter -- who denies abuse alleged by two ex-wives, one of whom released a photo of herself with a black eye -- worked at the heart of the White House throughout the first year of Trump's administration, despite being denied a full security clearance.

He only stepped down from his post Wednesday after the accusations became public.

Trump fueled the scandal Friday by praising Porter and suggesting he had a bright future.

"We certainly wish him well, and it's a tough time for him," Trump said in the Oval Office.

"He did a very good job when he was in the White House. And we hope he has a wonderful career and he will have a great career ahead of him.

"As you probably know, he says he's innocent, and I think you have to remember that."

That prompted a sharp rebuke from Democrats like Congresswoman Nydia Velazquez, who slammed the White House's "culture of misogyny."

Chief of Staff John Kelly was aware of the allegations and also praised Porter's conduct in the White House, maintaining that "every individual deserves the right to defend their reputation."

Hicks, perhaps Trump's most trusted aide, had helped craft the response to the scandal as White House communications director, despite being romantically involved with Porter.

"It's alarming Rob Porter remained in an influential role" said Democratic Representative Ann McLane Kuster, "even as revelations about his domestic abuse were apparently known among senior Trump staffers."

"Photos of his battered ex-wife are deeply disturbing. We must know who knew what when," Kuster added.

Trump confidant and former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski -- who was formerly romantically involved with Hicks -- pointed a finger of blame at former Marine corps general Kelly.

"The general is there to put in policies and processes and procedures. And in this case, those didn't work and we need to find out why," he told Fox News.

The White House was forced to quell rumors that Kelly was ready to resign.

Vice President Mike Pence, who is attending the Olympics in South Korea, tried to distance himself from the issue.

"The time that he resigned was when I first became aware of the allegations of domestic abuse," Pence said.

"I think the White House has acknowledged they could have handled it better and when I return to Washington, DC, I'm going to look into the matter and I'll share my counsel with the president directly."

- 'Could have done better' -

Trump was elected promising to bring "the best people" with him to "drain the swamp" in Washington.

In reality, he has struggled to hire high-caliber staff, with many experienced Washington operatives keeping their distance.

"A lot of us could have done better," deputy press secretary Raj Shah told reporters when asked about the situation -- a rare statement of contrition from the Trump White House.

Shah refused to confirm in detail when and how Chief of Staff Kelly in particular became aware of the claims.

"He became fully aware about these allegations yesterday," said Shah. "I'm not going to get into the specifics, regarding who may have known what pieces of information."

Shah also would not detail the involvement of Hicks in shaping the White House response.

Until hours before the Harvard graduate left his post, the White House was praising him as an upstanding and integral member of staff.

"Rob Porter has been effective in his role as staff secretary. The president and chief of staff have full confidence in his abilities and his performance," said press secretary Sarah Sanders.

In an interview with CNN, Porter's ex-wife Jennifer Willoughby detailed allegations of abuse, saying that during her marriage she lived under a "low-grade constant terror of not knowing what I might do to set something off."

Asked if she thought allegations against her ex-husband should have stopped him from working in the White House, Willoughby called it a "greater question... for society today."

"Can we separate a man's work from his private life?" she asked, calling it "concerning" that the central discussion had been around Porter's professional contributions to the White House.

"This is a troubled man with issues that needs help."

Trump's administration has been beset by scandal and staff departures.

Porter had been a rare staffer inside the White House who knew Washington, was widely respected and was seen as good at his job.

 
Sorry but the period of time connection to the operation is exceeded.