America, and indeed the world, has just learned that two men with an alleged history of domestic violence have been working in the White House, and the White House allegedly knew about it for a long time. First, Rob Porter was fired, and then speechwriter David Sorenson. In the same week, Gallup released its reporting on Trump’s annual approval rating in all 50 states for 2017, and the numbers show that Rustbelt women are turning against the Trump they voted for, reports the Atlantic.
It is a statistic coincidence that these two things happened in the same week. Or is it?
Further, with Trump appearing to side with the men in the domestic violence allegations now coming out against staffers in the White House, Trump’s own voters are tweeting him directly and expressing their concerns. Some are telling Donald Trump that they believe the women and are tired of his tweet rants.
So it’s not just a coincidence. Real women that voted for Donald Trump are saying enough is enough. Real men that have daughters that voted for Donald Trump are saying the same thing.
It’s been a startling week of domestic violence awareness for the country, with the White House once again the center of the controversy. All of the scandals that rock the White House are having an impact on Donald Trump’s approval rating.
This is the case whether those approvals arrived from a formally standardized testing of approvals and disapprovals of Donald Trump, or whether America is expressing their disapprovals by Twitter and saying: No. Stop it.
The Atlantic reports that Gallup has conducted an average approval rating report on Donald Trump for the year 2017. Over 171,000 surveys and interviews were taken over the year. Donald Trump’s average approval rating for 2017 was 38 percent.
Gallup further found that Donald Trump only has a majority approval in 12 states. In only nine of the states that voted for him in 2016 does he have majority approval. Six of the Rustbelt states that got him the election would not show those same numbers today.
Those states are Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. This glimpse of Trump’s approval ratings over the year shows that Trump still has a stronghold on the demographic of white men with a college degree, but that the college-educated women that voted him in are losing faith.
Gallup also found that in four of 13 battleground states, Trump’s approval rating with women exceeded 34 percent, and fell below that in all others. In the same week that this information came out, two of Donald Trump’s staffers resigned after allegations of domestic violence surfaced.
The first resignation was Staff Secretary Rob Porter who had to resign after two of his ex-wives accused him of domestic violence. The Daily Mail recounted the allegations of one of Porter’s wives, and it hits every “symptom” on the victim list of domestic violence.
Jennifer Willoughby described a marriage that she says included a lot of anger from Porter, being called worthless, a liar, and having to tiptoe on eggshells during their honeymoon.
The Daily Mail reports that in 2010 she sought a temporary order of protection against him after he punched a glass section of a door in their home. As more and more allegations against Rob Porter surfaced, he resigned.
It later came out that the FBI had known of these allegations when conducting their background checks, and they told the White House.
Donald Trump went to Twitter to say those accused of domestic violence need “due process.” But Politico reports that the FBI found the allegations credible enough to deny Rob Porter security clearance. Rob Porter was still given interim security clearance.
The staff secretary in the White House has access to a wide variety of classified information, says Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney. He is a former staff secretary to President Clinton, and knows exactly what the job entails for a staff secretary, and just how much sensitive information crosses that desk. He says it’s wasteful to taxpayers any time a staffer from a White House leaves.
Rep. Maloney also describes how easily national security can be compromised in that particular position. He says the staff secretary “sees everything” and that there is a burn bag under their desk for documents to be burned every day. Watch him explain how this particular staff position works on MSNBC Rachel Maddow show.
This means that Rob Porter had access to classified information. Rob Porter, who was once denied security clearance by the FBI, still had access to that information. Politico reports that this is a real national security problem. Rep. Maloney says there should be an FBI investigation into this, that answers the questions about who knows what about Rob Porter, and when they knew it.
CNN reported that Mr. Porter was told by the White House to “stay and fight” the allegations. But Politico reports that Rob Porter’s interim security clearance expired on January 15. At least one member of Congress other than Rep. Maloney believes this is a very serious problem.
Congress members aren’t the only ones expressing disapproval of Donald Trump and the White House in light of this information. When Donald Trump tweeted that Rob Porter deserved due process, and said he was “falsely accused,” his own voters tweeted back in anger. One of his voters, with daughters, said Trump’s responses are going to cost him the next election.
As the Rob Porter scandal swirled, the Washington Post broke the story of another White House staffer who is also accused of domestic violence. On Friday, speechwriter David Sorenson resigned after it surfaced that his ex-wife Jessica Corbett is accusing him of being “violent and emotionally abusive.”
The White House says that they just learned of these allegations on Thursday. But Jessica Corbett says that she told the FBI about this in October 2016 when they were conducting their background checks on Sorenson.
Sorenson has denied the allegations and has said that he was the victim of abuse in this marriage that lasted just over two years.
Jessica Corbett says that the abuse against her included having a car run over her foot, a cigarette being put out on her hand, and she says that he threw her against a wall. The Washington Post also detailed a story where the couple was allegedly on a boat off the coast of Maine, and her husband allegedly grabbed her hair “menacingly.” At the time, David Sorenson was a top policy advisor to Maine’s Republican Governor Paul LePage.
Jessica says she never reported Sorenson to the police because of his law enforcement connections. This is another textbook tactic of manipulation used by abusers, wherein they provide a false sense of intimidation to prevent their targets from reporting their crimes.
Psychology Today says that this kind of power struggle is a hallmark of domestic abuse. Using the United States Office on Violence Against Women definition, Psychology Today defines domestic violence as the following.
“A pattern of abusive behavior in any relationship that is used by one partner to gain or maintain power and control over another intimate partner.”
The United States Office of Violence Against Women says a woman is abused every nine seconds in the United States, and that it is the leading cause of injury to women in America. The Washington Post reported on their story of Jessica Corbett that “roughly half” of Maine homicides are a result of domestic violence.
Jessica Corbett does admit that she slapped her husband on occasions when he called her “vulgar” terms. In that sense, David Sorenson would be considered a victim, as the law is written, but he protests that he’s never been violent in his life, according to The Washington Post.
Two friends of Jessica’s corroborate her story. An anonymous Republican operative says he spoke to Jessica Corbett on October 4, 2016, one day before she reported these incidents to the FBI conducting the background check. When he asked what she was going to say to FBI the next day, Jessica told him she was going to tell “the truth.”
Jessica Corbett says that, as an American, she thought it was “scary” that someone like her now ex-husband would have access in the White House.
Jessica Corbett and her husband David Sorenson were known in the small world of Maine politics. Many big politicians, and David Sorenson’s first wife have gone on record to say they were never aware of any of these problems.
Most domestic violence happens in private, and this is why they are colloquially referred to as “intimate crimes.” Most abusers, particularly those with a public presence, are not going to publicly abuse their target. It is an intimate crime, and the biggest secret of “roughly half” of Maine’s murder victims.
Jessica Corbett reportedly told her mother the marriage was killing her and that she was suicidal. John Bremer, a friend that Jessica confided in said the following on the matter.
“She was in a situation where everyone was on David’s side because who he was and who he worked for. This was a woman who was going through abuse. These were very vivid and intense calls I would get. It’s not something you can fake or come up with.”
John Bremer helped Jessica Corbett create a bank account her husband would never have access to, so she could leave the marriage. Another anonymous Republican operative who was with Jessica Corbett during the 2016 Republican National Convention says that Jessica confided her problems to her.
They were good friends, and when that friend would not hear from Jessica, she would “fear the worst” and that she was really worried about her. She says once in a while she would hear from Jessica saying, “I’m okay, I’m still alive and I’ll let you know.”
Jessica Corbett has been called a liar. The Guardian reports that false allegations of domestic violence are “few and far between.” UN Women reports that at least 35 percent of women worldwide have experienced intimate partner violence and that some national studies show that as many as 70 percent of women have experienced it.
The uncontested divorce between Jessica Corbett and David Sorenson was finalized this past fall. And now, David Sorenson no longer has access to the White House. Trump voters have tweeted to the president their concerns on this wave of domestic violence awareness now sweeping the White House, and the country.
Donald Trump’s approval ratings generally hover around the 35 percent mark. Occasionally he sees an uptick after he is witnessed by millions reading well from a teleprompter.
These occasional upticks are the reason Donald Trump’s approval rating has hit an “annual peak” at 40 percent. This is something he brags about. But even his speechwriters are resigning amid domestic violence allegations.
It appears to many that he does not realize that the majority of his constituents disapproving of him is not something to brag about. If nothing else, it is un-electable.
But it is something else. Donald Trump’s low approval ratings consistently coincide with epic domestic violence scandals. If nothing else, his administration is raising domestic violence awareness again, and again, and again. His legacy officially includes the #MeToo movement.
Donald Trump’s consistently low approval ratings are a problem for America. They are a problem for women, who hold the majority in America.
They are a problem for America at home, according to his own voters. They are a problem for America’s global position. This is unsustainable.