The Maneater

Column: Scandals and lies are defining the Trump administration

Major news outlets are reporting that the White House is lying when it comes to the Porter scandal — and yet, if we’ve learned anything about this administration, it’s that little to nothing will be done about it

Madi Baughman is a freshman journalism and political science major at MU. She is an opinions columnist who writes about political and civil rights issues for The Maneater.

Over the past few weeks, it’s become painfully obvious that the White House’s timeline for the Rob Porter scandal is a straight-up lie; the FBI’s timeline completely contradicts everything the White House has claimed about Porter so far. The White House claimed that the FBI security clearance process was ongoing. However, FBI Director Christopher Wray confirmed that it closed Porter’s file in January. What should be alarming to the American people is that no action was taken even after learning of the allegations against Porter.

Porter, who served as staff secretary, was accused of abusing both of his past wives. Colbie Holderness, his first wife, claimed she was “living in constant fear of Rob’s anger” and that his abuse chipped away at her independence and self-worth. His second wife, Jennifer Willoughby, had to get a protective order as she was trying to get out of the marriage. Despite all the evidence, Porter has denied the allegations against him but still resigned from his position as staff secretary. He is not the first member of the Trump administration to be removed from his position, and I’m sure he will not be the last, either.

Some other, more prominent names may come to mind when thinking of the Trump executives who have left the White House, such as Steve Bannon or Sean Spicer. However, this specific case caught my attention because major news outlets are reporting that the White House is lying when it comes to the Porter scandal — and yet, if we’ve learned anything about this administration, it’s that little to nothing will be done about it. People are leaving the White House at a staggering rate, and this should speak volumes about the incompetence of this administration.

During Trump’s first year in office, his staff saw a 34 percent turnover rate, according to Fortune; the next highest first-year rate was Ronald Reagan’s, at 17 percent. This should raise major red flags. People appointed to important positions in our government should be people that we, as American citizens, can trust. If a person in government needs to be removed, then the administration should do so. However, we should keep in mind that it’s not normal to have a turnover rate twice as high as the next one on the list, especially when said administration has a tendency to lie about it.

At this point, it seems easy to brush this abuse scandal to the side because top executives falling from grace has become the norm of the Trump administration. However, we have to remember that we should not accept this as the new normal. We shouldn’t be OK with an administration with incompetent officials, and we definitely shouldn’t be OK with a White House that lies to us about them.

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