An aggressively political interview on CNN this past Sunday gave cover to the White House and went entirely unnoticed by journalists, pundits, analysts and media watchdogs.
Appearing on CNN’s “State Of The Union,” former Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson sat with Jake Tapper to discuss several recent news events. One of those topics was recently-ousted White House Staff Secretary, Rob Porter.
Setting the stage: The media’s narrative has been, and 10 days later continues to be, that allegations of domestic abuse committed by Porter were ignored by the White House until the PR firestorm forced them to react and ultimately part ways with Porter.
A fair assessment.
Also fair, however, is to note the missing intellectual honesty, which sounds something like this: Despite the opportunities and pressures magnified by the #MeToo moment, no person should be convicted and/or punished based solely on an allegation. Moreover, the allegations against Porter were somewhat dicey — appearing to at times conflate negative feelings with outright abuse. And finally, if his contributions to the White House were minimal, then the decision would have been much easier. But a highly-productive asset to several of the White House’s operations, losing the professional contributions of Rob Porter was going to be painful — and thus not easily decided upon.
That’s the intellectual honesty.
You might not like it, but it’s all fair and it’s all true.
And while the media, Democrats and establishment Republicans (ie “the swamp”) are steadfast in their conviction that principle and character and principle and honor and principle should and would have been the only guiding light for any other administration, enter Jeh Johnson to throw cold water on their faux self-righteousness and moral indignation.
When asked by Jake Tapper how he would have handled the situation, Johnson made several statements that ran counter to the media’s narrative, yet went unchecked by both Tapper and the entirety of the chattering political and media class in and around DC.
Johnson’s first comment when asked how he would have handled it?
“You know, when you’re in public office you have to assume that sooner or later everything’s going to get out.”
Got that? You don’t have to assume that you’re held to higher standards. You don’t have to worry about doing the right thing. You don’t have to worry about upholding a higher standard. You have to worry about getting caught not doing the right thing. That is chief among Johnson’s responses to how he’d react in a similar situation.
“And you have to balance the blowback from something like this that has not come out, that should have come out much earlier, against the strengths of the person who’s in the job.”
Got that? Because it will eventually get out, then you have to balance the political blowback against the strengths of the person who is doing the work. You don’t have to worry about the person’s character. You don’t have to worry about the integrity of the office. You don’t have to worry about the alleged victims, and/or justice being done. Per Jeh Johnson, the second most important factor after the reality that the revelations will eventually be made public, is consideration for the value the person brings versus the blowback you’ll get for having him/her around.
Tapper — suddenly casual in his approach to a story that just days before he had to fight back tears while reporting on — academically pressed, “But you wouldn’t necessarily say ‘You need to go.'”
Light years from the unflinching “Yes I’d fire him immediately!” that virtually everyone in the media had insisted was the only correct answer, Johnson’s narrative-averse, accidental honesty continued…
“Ummm, an issue like this, you have to realize that it’s going to be a big deal when it becomes public news.”
Got that? Not that it is a big deal. But only that it will become a big deal, when it becomes public news. Nothing about principle. Nothing about honor. Nothing about the scorched earth hellfire that surely envelopes anyone who has or will ever work with such a terrifying predator like the media has made Porter out to be. No. None of that. The only real consideration is that it will be a big deal in the news media, and for that reason, it will merit reaction from those dealing with that fallout.
This was Jeh Johnson entirely unprepared for this question, and making the mistake of answering with intellectual honesty instead of the prescribed Democrat/media talking points.
To hear the rest of the media tell the story, all that matters here — and all that would matter to anyone except for
literally Hitler Trump — is honor and integrity and justice for victims. But they all know better. They all know that honor, integrity, and justice — while ubiquitously paramount across all of humanity — are all subject to the rigors of intellectual honesty. And in the case of Rob Porter, despite the media’s cries that this “chaos represents a pattern of Trump enabling abuse against women,” the intellectually honest reality means people around him were waiting for it to come out and then weighing his value against the blowback they’d get. And when that blowback proved mountainous, they got rid of him.
That’s fair. That’s intellectually honest. And that’s the reality of politics, despite the pearl-clutching, hand-wringing, finger-wagging, pass-me-the-smelling-salts virtue signaling being done by the rest of the media as it relates to this nontroversy.
“What about blackmail!?”, the pseudo intellectual wing of #TheResistance might plead. What, exactly, do you think could have been used as blackmail material here? Do you think one of the ex wives would’ve told the FBI again about the things they already told them? Their stories were already well known. They were, in fact, sitting in plain sight for anyone who wanted to dig them up. Is your contention that one of them might have come to Porter and said “Give me all of your national security secrets or I’ll tell people all the stories I already told everyone”?
That’s pretty thin.
The reality is that the Rob Porter escapade is just the media doing everything it can to claim scalps from Donald Trump’s White House. And they won. They got Porter. And now they’re moving on to John Kelly, hoping to get rid of him. They’ll lose that battle. And they’ll keep losing the enterprise war, which has Trump draining the swamp while putting America first — and the swamp-dependent media, Democrats and establishment GOP doing everything they can to stop him.