Sometimes justice takes time. Sometimes the First Amendment – meant to correct false speech with accurate speech – works. Robert Porter, one of the brightest lights in Trump’s White House, young Harvard lawyer, Rhodes Scholar, distinguished law clerk, international scholar, trade and national security expert, was demonized in 2018. Facts now prove his integrity, at last.
The First Amendment is slow to work, but it works. On August 10, the Daily Wire, after a months-long investigation, wrote one of the most thorough, compelling, fact-based analyses of a political leader attacked, brought low, and able to finally reclaim his reputation – that has been written in a generation.
In their day, Thomas Jefferson and Theodore Roosevelt got falsely attacked, with gross allegations thrown against them. Both were forced to reclaim their reputations, which both did – TR through a brutal libel trial. Porter joins their company, distinguished, scarred, but resilient.
By way of background, Porter was boldly accused of domestic abuse – based on quickly filed stories, unresearched allegations, in turn readily fanned by Trump’s political opponents and the media. In what has become a commonplace, one outlet told a story, others picked it up, and truth suffered.
Now comes the real story, one that shows Porter’s two marriages were not at all as described by the media, that a former wife recanted and that, in many ways, Porter was a victim of the very practices a hostile, anti-Trump media tarred and feathered him with.
The real story is beyond compelling. It is a sobering, objectively mortifying lesson in what happens when reckless national media, obsessed with playing a decisive role in politics, turns its back on professional responsibilities, like researching facts, and in the process destroys the reputation of an innocent citizen.
In an age when good leaders, honest, moral, educated, thoughtful, service-oriented, and selfless are sorely needed, when public service seems lost to private greed, the story of a good man taken down by unresearched allegations is sobering. It explains why so many good people sidestep politics.
In short, Robert Porter – a lifelong Mormon, reserved scholar, quiet by temperament – was suddenly accused of having been a “wife beater” and acts that, ironically, turned out to have been akin to what he suffered, not what he perpetrated.
Fact after fact alleged proved to be incontrovertibly untrue, materially inaccurate, deliberately, recklessly, or negligently misstated, then never publicly corrected, even when truth was known. Even now, media outlets that attacked Trump through his young staff, have failed to correct the record.
Porter, invariably a backseat actor, highly respected across Capitol Hill, in legal and scholarly circles, trusted by the DC Court of Appeals, national security expert with a longstanding top-secret clearance, had been vetted and re-vetted for top posts.
Only when he took the post with Trump did allegations – later proven false – fly. These allegations sharply conflicted with Porter’s reputation, leaving him only two options – fight or resign. Honor comes before pride, as pride before the fall. He chose not to fight, but to resign in the “hurricane,” hoping for truth in time.
The time has come, and for those who have long known he as not a “wife beater,” that his life was being ruined by media outlets with a story to sell, another way of getting at a president despised by the left, this day is overdue, gratifying, and in some ways, even now, too late.
Robert is as honorable a man, as full-hearted a public servant, as decent a person as anyone would wish to meet or know. How do I know? Because 40 years ago, I served in the Reagan White House, working for another public servant, a father of four, thoughtful and honorable.
That man was Roger Porter, Harvard Professor, Rhodes Scholar, trusted by Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush – Robert’s father. I have known the Porter family since Robert was age four. Faith is central to their lives. I knew from the outset the media allegations were just not true.
What I see now – Robert’s vindication – also vindicates our Founders and the First Amendment, more speech corrects prior speech, truth emerges over time by good reporting. This we see even as the Fourth Amendment is challenged, and the same outlets that took aim at Porter now take aim now at his former employer. What goes around, does come around. It just takes a while.
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