President Donald Trump finally spoke out against domestic violence on Wednesday, more than a week after White House staff secretary Rob Porter resigned amid allegations that he physically abused his two ex-wives.
“I am totally opposed to domestic violence of any kind,” Trump told reporters. “Everyone knows that, and it almost wouldn’t even have to be said.”
Trump has come under fire for not directly addressing domestic violence victims or speaking out against Porter’s alleged behavior. In his first remarks about the scandal last week, Trump emphasized that Porter denies the allegations.
“As you probably know, he says he’s innocent, and I think you have to remember that,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office. “He said very strongly yesterday that he’s innocent, so you’ll have to talk to him about that.”
The next day, he tweeted out sympathy for people whose “lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation.”
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders rebuked reporters earlier this week when they asked why Trump had not made any statement against domestic violence, telling them she was authorized to speak for him and that his silence had no bearing on how seriously he takes such accusations.
She also danced around questions as to whether Trump still wishes Porter well, as he said he did when the secretary resigned.
“I think the president of the United States hopes that all Americans can be successful in whatever they do,” Sanders said. “And if they’ve had any issues in the past ― I’m not confirming or denying one way or another ― but if they do, the president wants success for all Americans.”
This isn’t the first time Trump has been panned for his apparent hesitancy to condemn an act of hatred or violence. Over the summer, it took him more than 48 hours to denounce the white supremacist groups who sparked deadly violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.