It additionally drew an infected response, as folks took to social media to notice that Mr. Trump used comparable arguments to defend Roy S. Moore, the Republican candidate who misplaced his bid for an Alabama Senate seat after being accused of kid predation, and Invoice O’Reilly, the disgraced TV persona who, alongside together with his former employer, Fox Information, paid tens of tens of millions of to settle sexual harassment claims.
Mr. Trump, critics famous, has not let due course of stop him from dashing to judgment in different circumstances. He has avidly promoted conspiracy theories, like these of the birther motion, whipped up his supporters at marketing campaign rallies with chants of “lock her up” about Hillary Clinton, and demanded the loss of life penalty for 5 younger black and Latino males wrongly accused of assaulting and raping a white lady in Central Park.
For the #MeToo motion, which has unfold into just about each nook of American society — redressing a legacy of injustice even because it wrestles with questions like the risks of a rush to judgment — Mr. Trump’s phrases had been positive to make him, but once more, a lightning rod.
His obvious protection of his two aides — Rob Porter, the employees secretary, and David Sorensen, a speechwriter — ran counter to the White Home’s portrayal of its response to the accusations of emotional and bodily abuse leveled towards them. Administration officers maintained that they acted decisively in every case.
However it was consistent with the White Home’s initially defensive response to the costs towards Mr. Porter — a messy path of conflicting statements that has left the West Wing in turmoil, with offended officers pointing fingers at each other.
The White Home chief of employees, John F. Kelly, and the press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, staunchly defended Mr. Porter initially. Ms. Sanders stated the president had “full confidence” in his efficiency, whereas Mr. Kelly described him as “a person of true integrity and honor.”
But the allegations towards Mr. Porter and Mr. Sorensen had been longstanding, nicely documented, and not less than in Mr. Porter’s case, recognized to the White Home for months, at the same time as he held one of many West Wing’s most delicate positions, channeling paperwork to the president.
One in all Mr. Porter’s former wives, Jennifer Willoughby, obtained a restraining order towards him, whereas the opposite, Colbie Holderness, offered of herself with a black eye, which she stated got here from being hit by Mr. Porter whereas the couple was on trip in Italy.
The F.B.I. knowledgeable the White Home of those prices, which held up Mr. Porter’s utility for a everlasting safety clearance. Mr. Kelly has informed his employees he ordered Mr. Porter to be fired 40 minutes after studying of the costs, an assertion that different officers disputed.
Within the case of Mr. Sorensen, his former spouse, Jessica Corbett, informed F.B.I. brokers conducting a background verify on her husband that he had run over her foot whereas driving a automobile and extinguished a cigarette on her hand throughout a turbulent two-and-a-half-year marriage.
For his half, Mr. Trump generously praised Mr. Porter, telling reporters on Friday, “He did an excellent job when he was within the White Home, and we want him nicely.” The president made no point out of the ladies Mr. Porter is alleged to have abused — a degree a number of of the president’s critics famous.
“Look once more on the images of the face of Porter’s ex-wife after he assaulted her,” Consultant Ted W. Lieu, a Democrat from California, said on Twitter. “Victims deserve due course of as nicely.”
Mr. Trump has a historical past of coming to the protection of accused males. Along with Mr. Moore and Mr. O’Reilly, he defended Roger Ailes, the chairman of Fox Information, who resigned amid a number of allegations of misconduct; Corey Lewandowski, his former marketing campaign supervisor, who was charged with battery after grabbing the arm of a feminine reporter; and Mike Tyson, the boxer who went to jail for raping an 18-year-old magnificence queen.
Steadily, Mr. Trump notes that the costs are outdated, that they won’t be true and that the accused has denied them.
“Forty years is a very long time,” he stated of allegations that Mr. Moore had molested ladies as younger as 14. “He’s run eight races, and this has by no means got here up.”
Within the case of Mr. Lewandowski, he stated, “He’s a fantastic particular person, he’s an excellent particular person. And I don’t wish to destroy a person. Should you let him go, you’d destroy a person, destroy a household.”
Dozens of ladies have accused Mr. Trump himself of sexual harassment throughout his years as an actual property developer, reality-TV star and sweetness pageant proprietor. He has constantly denied the costs, usually in phrases not in contrast to these he makes use of in defending different males.
“Quite a lot of issues get made up over time,” he stated in 2016, responding to an investigation by The New York Times that detailed what a number of ladies described as lewd feedback and unwelcome advances. “I’ve at all times handled ladies with nice respect. And ladies will let you know that.”
Mr. Trump’s name for due course of does replicate a worry shared by others that the #MeToo motion has gained a lot momentum that in some circumstances, males accused of misconduct are being judged too shortly or punished too severely for sexual conduct that falls right into a grey space.
But Mr. Trump has been fast to evaluate in different cases. Within the 1989 case of the Central Park jogger, Mr. Trump purchased a full-page advert in newspapers calling for the 5 suspects to be given the loss of life penalty. Even after the convictions towards the boys had been dropped 13 years later, Mr. Trump insisted they had been responsible.
“You falsely alleged rape by the #CentralParkFive even AFTER they had been exonerated, however stated nothing about due course of for five black boys,” Cornell William Brooks, a former president of the N.A.A.C.P., said in a tweet. “For two white males accused of spouse beating, you argue due course of. Due course of applies to greater than @WhiteHouse employees or white males.”
To some critics, Mr. Trump’s defensive tone on Saturday was much less a setback for the #MeToo motion than proof of its success — a political and social tidal wave crashing on the doorstep of the White Home.
“Trump is now tweeting to legitimize home violence,” said Amy Siskind, who publishes a weekly record on the net of how Mr. Trump is altering the nation. “Like months in the past when he defended a pedophile. The explanation: a responsible conscience and figuring out #MeToo is coming for him quickly!”