And while the White House may not have known the full measure of Porter’s behavior, they, and the Republican party, have established the precedent of excusing equally abhorrent behavior. If defeating Democrats can justify supporting Roy Moore, then why is Mr. Porter a bridge too far? Surely he was helping to pass the president’s agenda of tax cuts, deregulation, and nominating conservative judges? Do we want to risk having a less effective official in his critical post?
In fact, one of Porter’s ex-wives actually endorses this view. “I don’t want to be married to him. I would not recommend anyone to date him or marry him,” Jennifer Willoughby told the Daily Mail. “But I definitely want him in the White House and the position he is in. I think his integrity and ability to do his job is impeccable.”
Even assuming that Porter’s public behavior has always been “impeccable,” to permit him to serve in a position of honor diminishes all of us. We demand some minimum level of decent (to say nothing of legal) behavior from those in positions of trust because that’s one way we uphold our standards. We cannot consider ourselves an ethical people if we elect squalid leaders on the grounds of “toughness.” What does it say about our priorities when we enforce stricter standards in nearly every other realm of American life? The bar is set higher for business leaders, sports figures, teachers, members of the military, and even (recently) entertainers.