John Kelly — like this whole White House — is done

Even with the relaxed restrictions on access to guns Trump imposed nearly a year ago by rolling back Obama-era gun regulations, perpetrators of domestic abuse are legally prohibited from owning a gun in America, where our standards for gun access are tragically low.

Federal law and state laws in 23 states and the District of Columbia ban convicted batterers from owning a gun. Among the banned possibly should have been former Trump White House senior aide Rob Porter, an alleged serial batterer who was recently forced to resign. However, a random 18-year-old can legally obtain a firearm easier than he can score a six pack of beer to drink with his pals behind the bleachers at a high school Friday night football game.

ADVERTISEMENT
Yet despite our lax laws that allowed an 18-year-old to purchase a deadly firearm and slaughter 17 innocents in Florida this week because we are stupid, stupid, stupid in love with guns and death in this country — even we, the deadliest and most dangerous gun nation on the planet knew enough not to allow the batterers in our midst to own guns.

Porter is an accused wife beater. The FBI warned Trump’s White House and Trump’s chief counsel, Don McGahn, knew that Porter was an accused wife beater a year in advance. White House Chief of Staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE reportedly knew Porter was an accused wife beater. Many people, including possibly President TrumpDonald John TrumpSchiff: Surveillance warrant docs show that Nunes memo 'misrepresented and distorted these applications' Chicago detention facility under investigation following allegations of abuse of migrant children Ex-Trump aide: Surveillance warrants are 'complete ignorance' and 'insanity' MORE, were aware Rob Porter could not pass the required security clearance for the simple fact that he was credibly alleged to have beaten his two ex-wives.  

That this fact was ignored and covered up says a lot about Trump and the people who surround and enable him, but in particular, it tells us a lot about John Kelly, who is the most responsible for this messy, disgusting, and deplorable situation.  In his very title, “chief of staff,” we know his job was to kick staffer Porter to the curb twice as fast as he did staffer Omarosa and staffer Anthony ScaramucciAnthony ScaramucciMegyn Kelly grills Sean Spicer over whether he stands by past White House claims Trump: Media only says I was 'rude' to NATO leaders, ignores 'the money' Trump criticizes media amid growing criticism of his handling of Putin MORE the moment he got wind of the domestic abuse. Instead, he apparently covered it up. Then he issued a statement of support, drafted in part by Porter’s in-house squeeze, Trump Communications Director Hope HicksHope Charlotte HicksTrump does not take questions as he departs for weekend NYT: Cohen taped Trump on payment to ex-Playboy model 'Daily Show' trolls Trump over Pruitt's resignation MORE. Then the White House altered the timeline of events, and Kelly appeared to be as shocked to hear of the allegations as the rest of us were.

Don McGahn clearly knew by July when, according to FBI Director Christopher Wray, the bureau informed the White House of the domestic violence allegations against Rob Porter. He then would have informed Kelly, who became chief of staff near the end of July. Disturbingly, the FBI obtained photos of one of Porter’s ex-wives just seven days after Trump was inaugurated and may have provided McGahn with a synopsis even then, meaning McGahn sat on it for over a year.

Yet even after the allegations were made public, Kelly gushed over Porter, saying the accused:

"Is a man of true integrity and honor, and I can't say enough good things about him. He is a friend, a confidante and a trusted professional. I am proud to serve alongside him."

It wasn’t until photos of blackened eyes and a bruised and beaten face of one of Porter’s ex-wives hit twitter that Kelly revised his glowing statement about Rob Porter.  Inexplicably, it took a nearly 24 hours to do so.  

President Trump also had only kind words for Porter and intimated that the ex-wives may be lying, lamenting, "People’s lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation." But then, he has a long history of backing weak, insecure men who abuse women. Trump similarly supported his former campaign manager, Corey LewandowskiCorey R. LewandowskiThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Sponsored by Delta Air Lines — GOP spars with FBI agent at tense hearing Washington big names celebrate launch of Hill.TV The Hill's Morning Report — Trump denigrates NATO allies, floats 4 percent solution MORE, after he was arrested for allegedly physically assaulting a female reporter. Lewandowski also was exposed as screaming obscenities at a former female colleague in front of others, using a particularly disgusting and offensive term for female genitalia, and accused of making unwelcome late night “romantic” phone calls to female reporters during the campaign.

Trump campaigned in Alabama for Roy MooreRoy Stewart MooreBannon says he will set up group in Europe to boost far-right figures Roby wins Alabama GOP runoff, overcoming blowback from Trump criticism Once a Trump critic, Ala. rep faces runoff with his support MORE for the U.S. Senate, after he was credibly accused by multiple women of molesting them when they were adolescents and teens. The president’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, paid a porn star who allegedly had a sexual relationship with Trump, $130,000 in what can only be described as hush money.

It’s clear Trump does not hire “the best people” despite his constant refrain that he would do so. Garbage attracts flies.  

It’s also clear Chief of Staff John Kelly needs to go. But so does McGahn and Hope Hicks for their unseemly maneuverings to protect an alleged serial abuser who was not fit to handle classified material on behalf of the nation.

Let’s face it: In any other White House, a president and his closest aides offering support, comfort and cover for Rob Porter could end a presidency. In the era of Trump, it’s just another day at the office.

Cheri Jacobus is a former congressional staffer, RNC spokesperson and political consultant. Follow her on Twitter @CheriJacobus.