Disgraced Aide Re-Emerges, and His Ex-Wife Is Troubled

Jenna Willoughby writes about Rob Porter's return to public eye, after abuse allegations
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 21, 2019 7:27 PM CDT
In this 2018 file photo, then White House staff secretary Rob Porter, front, walks with then White House chief of staff John Kelly.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

(Newser) – Last week, the Wall Street Journal published an op-ed about President Trump's trade policy that was routine in everything but the byline: Robert Porter. That would be the same Rob Porter who lost his job as a White House official last year when allegations of physical abuse surfaced from two ex-wives. In the Washington Post, one of those exes, Jennie Willoughby, has written an op-ed expressing her unhappiness with the development. It's not that she thinks Porter must be banished from public life forever, she writes. But Willoughby finds it disturbing that he has re-emerged so quickly without addressing how he behaved in his two marriages or expressing any public regret.

"I don't claim to have all the answers for what happens now," writes Willoughby. "But the matter-of-fact way Rob has reappeared can't be right." She acknowledges that the idea of atonement in this kind of a situation is complicated. "Is there life after disgrace?" she wonders. The answer can be yes, but it takes work. We "feel the truth when someone openly walks a path toward healing," she writes, but Porter seems not to have taken even the first step. Everybody loves a "redemption story," Willoughby concludes, but "true redemption is not a given. It is earned." (Click to read her full column.)

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