GOP lawmaker on Rob Porter abuse allegations: 'Why are we still talking about it?'

A Republican House member seems a bit confused why the public is still discussing the domestic abuse allegations that forced White House staff secretary Rob Porter from his job last week.

“I’m not saying he’s innocent, but I’m saying we don’t know,” Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-N.Y.)  said Wednesday during an interview on upstate New York radio station WUTQ. “He could be the worst guy in the world, but now we’re getting into prosecution, as far as I know. I guess there was an issue about ― maybe the FBI knew about it ― but really, is this what we’re talking about at this point?”

She added: “Once they found out about it, they let the guy go. Why are we still talking about it?” 

11 PHOTOS
Rob Porter in his White House role
See Gallery
Rob Porter in his White House role
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 2: White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter watches as President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting with North Korean defectors in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington, DC on Friday, Feb. 02, 2018. President Donald Trump talked to reporters and members of the media about the release of a secret memo on the F.B.I.'s role in the Russia inquiry. (Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly walks with White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter to depart with U.S. President Donald Trump aboard the Marine One helicopter from the White House in Washington, U.S. November 29, 2017. Picture taken November 29, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
Former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski (C) says hello to reporters as he and White House advisors Sebastian Gorka (from L), Omarosa Manigault and Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci accompany President Trump for an event celebrating veterans at AMVETS Post 44 in Struthers, Ohio, U.S., July 25, 2017. Jonathan Ernst: "The most visible person in any White House is naturally the President, followed by the press secretary. But there are also the staff who support them, any one of whom might suddenly jump into public view and be national news for a day or two. For those of us covering the President Trump administration, there seem to be more compelling figures in the West Wing than ever before. It's crucial to know who's who and why they're important. When I raised my camera and back-pedalled ahead of the group to take this image Lewandowski gave me a hello and pointed right into the lens. I liked the photo, but had no idea it would go a little bit viral, especially since Scaramucci, who was the biggest mover and shaker that week, was hidden back in the pack. But I guess the image catches a glimpse of what it's like to be a West Wing staffer on the road."REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File photo SEARCH "POY STORY" FOR THIS STORY. SEARCH "REUTERS POY" FOR ALL BEST OF 2017 PACKAGES. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY.
UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 01: Rob Porter, right, White House staff secretary, and Don McGahn, White House counsel, attend a luncheon featuring a speech by President Donald Trump at the House and Senate Republican retreat at The Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, W.Va., on February 1, 2018. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
Stephen Miller, White House senior advisor for policy, right, talks to Rob Porter, White House staff secretary, after arriving on Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Feb. 1, 2018. In a speech to congressional Republicans at the Greenbrier resort in West Virginia today, Trump recognized the party's leadership and then riffed on his election. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 01: White House chief of staff John Kelly, (L), walks with staff secretary Rob Porter, (C), and White House senior advisor Stephen Miller, before boarding Marine One to depart from the White House with President Donald Trump, on February 1, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 05: White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter (L) and Senior Advisor to the President Stephen Miller (C) return to the White House after a day trip with President Donald Trump to Cincinnati, Ohio, February 5, 2018 in Washington, DC. While in Ohio President Trump delivered remarks after touring cylinder manufacturer Sheffer Corporation while the first lady Melania Trump visited patients and their families at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Gary Cohn, director of the U.S. National Economic Council, right, Stephen Miller, White House senior advisor for policy, left, and Rob Porter, White House staff secretary, walk toward the White House after arriving on Marine One with U.S. President Donald Trump, not pictured, in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018. Trump today threw a wrench into negotiations over a shutdown-avoiding spending bill by saying he didn't want a provision funding children's health insurance in the short-term measure. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly walks with White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter to depart with U.S. President Donald Trump aboard the Marine One helicopter from the White House in Washington, U.S. November 29, 2017. Picture taken November 29, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter (L) arrives aboard Air Force One with fellow senior staff and U.S. President Donald Trump for a summer vacation at his Bedminster estate, at Morristown Airport in Morristown, New Jersey, U.S. August 4, 2017. Picture taken August 4, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
White House chief economic adviser Gary Cohn (R) talks with White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter (L) as they arrive with U.S. President Donald Trump aboard Air Force One at Indianapolis International Airport in Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S. September 27, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Porter resigned from the White House on Feb. 7 after both his ex-wives publicly accused him of physical, verbal and emotional abuse. He has denied the allegations. 

Porter hasn’t been charged with any criminal offense. That, Tenney said repeatedly, means the accusations most likely are fake.

“There might be an element of truth to [the allegations], but why wasn’t this guy prosecuted before if these things were happening?” she asked.

“Has this guy committed a crime? Has anyone prosecuted him for his alleged abuse against the past wives?” 

One of the radio hosts pointed out that because the abuse allegations affected Porter’s ability to get high-level security clearance, he was susceptible to blackmail. Tenney quickly dismissed that issue, saying domestic abuse is not a “crime of character.” 

“Blackmail and domestic situations don’t really line up. They’re not crimes of character,” she said. “They’re character, but they’re not dishonesty. To me ... just because somebody has been accused of these things ― and even if they’re true ― that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s going to be dishonest and commit blackmail.”

Tenney blamed Republican Party reluctance to embrace Trump’s presidency as a reason he may have made a rushed decision to employ Porter. 

7 PHOTOS
Rep. Claudia Tenney
See Gallery
Rep. Claudia Tenney
UNITED STATES - APRIL 26th: Claudia Tenney, Republican candidate for New York's 22nd congressional district, is interviewed in the Roll Call offices on April 26, 2016. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 21: President Donald Trump prepares to sign an Executive Order, Identifying and Reducing Tax Regulatory Burdens, as Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-NY), left, Sen. David Perdue (R-GA), center, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, right, look on at the Treasury Building on April 21, 2017 in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Ricky Carioti/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - JULY 25: Rep. Claudia Tenney, R-N.Y., speaks during a news conference after a meeting of the House Republican conference in the Capitol on July 25, 2017. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., appears at left. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 06: Reps. Drew Ferguson, R-Ga., and Claudia Tenney, R-N.Y., talk after a meeting of the House Republican Conference in the Capitol on February 6, 2018. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 25: U.S. Rep. Kevin Yoder (R-KS) (3rd L) speaks as (L-R) Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Ivanka Trump, Adviser and daughter of President Donald Trump, Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) and Rep. Claudia Tenney (R-NY) listen during a news conference October 25, 2017 at the Capitol in Washington, DC. Ivanka Trump joined Republican legislators to discuss child tax credit. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 2: Rep. Claudia Tenney, R-N.Y., participates in the House Financial Services Committee meeting to organize for the 115th Congress on Thursday, Feb. 2, 2017. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
UNITED STATES - APRIL 26th: Claudia Tenney, Republican candidate for New York's 22nd congressional district, is interviewed in the Roll Call offices on April 26, 2016. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

“When you don’t have anyone supporting you that’s part of the structure, you’ve got to find people that aren’t always the best and you find that out later because you literally just need someone to do the job,” Tenney said.

“Obviously the issue of sexual assault or any of those things, anything like that is very serious, but we’re also getting into the minutiae of what’s going on with the White House,” Tenney said.

“There are so many things happening with this White House, people coming and going, and new people.” 

Listen to Tenney’s full interview below.

Tenney cited her experience as a divorce lawyer in casting doubt on the accusations by both of Porter’s ex-wives. 

“I’ve had divorce cases where terrible abuse is going on and the person doesn’t do anything about it, usually it’s the wife, sometimes it’s the husband,” she said. “But in cases like this, I’ve seen cases where somebody hurts themselves and they go in and blame their ex-husband. Or their ex-husband to be. The person wasn’t even there.”

President Donald Trump and his administration have been criticized for how the White House handled the accusations. Trump and other aides continued to defend Porter, even after he resigned. 

Meredith Kelly, communications director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, criticized Tenney’s comments on Friday as “shameful and frankly disgusting.”

“Survivors of domestic abuse have a hard enough time coming forward without Members of Congress casting doubt on their stories,” Kelly said in a press release. “Tenney’s disturbing smear of two women confronting their abuser shows why she needs to be replaced.”

Tenney did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment. 

9 PHOTOS
John Kelly and Rob Porter
See Gallery
John Kelly and Rob Porter
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly walks with White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter to depart with U.S. President Donald Trump aboard the Marine One helicopter from the White House in Washington, U.S. November 29, 2017. Picture taken November 29, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly walks with White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter to depart with U.S. President Donald Trump aboard the Marine One helicopter from the White House in Washington, U.S. November 29, 2017. Picture taken November 29, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly walks with White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter to depart with U.S. President Donald Trump aboard the Marine One helicopter from the White House in Washington, U.S. November 29, 2017. Picture taken November 29, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly walks with White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter to depart with U.S. President Donald Trump aboard the Marine One helicopter from the White House in Washington, U.S. November 29, 2017. Picture taken November 29, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly walks with White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter to depart with U.S. President Donald Trump aboard the Marine One helicopter from the White House in Washington, U.S. November 29, 2017. Picture taken November 29, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter (R) and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly (L) walk to board Air Force One with U.S. President Donald Trump en route to New Jersey from Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, U.S. August 4, 2017. Picture taken August 4, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter (R) and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly (L) walk to board Air Force One with U.S. President Donald Trump en route to New Jersey from Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, U.S. August 4, 2017. Picture taken August 4, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter (R) and White House Chief of Staff John Kelly (L) walk to board Air Force One with U.S. President Donald Trump en route to New Jersey from Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, U.S. August 4, 2017. Picture taken August 4, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly (L) leads White House chief economic adviser Gary Cohn and White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter off of Air Force One as they arrive with U.S. President Donald Trump (not pictured) at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, U.S. February 1, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.
Read Full Story