What the Case of Rob Porter Says About Our Government

Since Staff Secretary Rob Porter resigned from the Trump White House after allegations of abuse surfaced, I have been approached by several people asking me for some kind of inside baseball analysis.  Over the years, I’ve spent a lot of time in and around Utah politics, and Porter, after all, got his start in my state, serving as Orrin Hatch’s Chief of Staff, so people assume I have some kind of unique insight into this mess.

Fact is, I don’t. To my recollection, I have never met Mr. Porter, and, before this story broke, I knew precisely nothing about him. It seems I’m the only one.

Honestly, how is it possible that this guy rose through the ranks without anyone knowing he had a penchant for beating up his wives? The security clearances for his position he held are rigorous, and even allegations of abuse are enough to derail people from the kind of access that Porter enjoyed.  That would suggest that everyone around him turned a blind eye to his reprehensible behavior.

Even if the picture of his bruised ex-wife wasn’t all over the Internet, surely the FBI would have been aware of the fact that domestic abuse was at the center of both of his acrimonious divorces. It is inconceivable that the people Porter worked with were blissfully unaware of his history, as so many of them are claiming today.

Rob Porter as an example of government itself

But if that’s the case, then that’s probably worse.

If nobody knew anything about Porter, that means that Trump, for all his talk about “extreme vetting” or immigrants and refugees, doesn’t apply anything close to similar standards for vetting people with access to top secret information. It also means that the White House isn’t doing its job, and that it is impossible for the American people to have any confidence in the people who screen the people who run the place.

So no, I don’t know Rob Porter. But I do know that his example provides proof that our government is either corrupt or incompetent, or likely some rancid mixture of both.

(Image of the White House at dusk via the Barack Obama Presidential Library)


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