President Donald Trump broke days of silence on the matter of spousal abuse, saying on Wednesday he was opposed to all manner of domestic violence.
“I’m totally opposed to domestic violence. And everybody here knows that,” Trump said in the Oval Office. “I’m totally opposed to domestic violence of any kind. Everyone knows that. And it almost wouldn’t even have to be said. So, now you hear it, but you all know.”
Trump had remained silent on his views toward domestic violence as a controversy has swirled over former White House aide Rob Porter, who was accused of abusing his ex-wives.
Porter denies all the allegations against him.
Trump had repeatedly declined opportunities to speak out on the matter. Instead, he praised Porter’s character and said accused abusers are owed due process.
But White House press secretary Sarah Sanders has said “the President and the entire administration take domestic violence very seriously and believe all allegations need to be investigated thoroughly.”
Trump, given the range of sexual harassment and assault allegations against him, has long struggled to respond to the nationwide focus on the mistreatment of women.
During the election campaign, at least 15 women made allegations against Trump ranging from sexual harassment and sexual assault to lewd behavior around women. They came forward in the wake of a 2005 “Access Hollywood” tape of Trump released in October 2016 that caught him saying on a hot mic: “And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything … Grab them by the p****. You can do anything.”
The White House – through Sanders and others – has dismissed all the allegations against him as old news that had been litigated during the 2016 campaign.