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Biden hits Trump on Porter response

The Hill logo The Hill 2/9/2018 Max Greenwood
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Former Vice President Joe Biden on Friday ripped President Trump over his response to domestic abuse allegations against former White House staff secretary Rob Porter, saying his handling of his job has no bearing on his alleged wrongdoing.

Speaking to fraternity and sorority leaders at the Association of Fraternal Leaders and Values Central Conference in Indianapolis, Biden said that Trump's praise of Porter downplayed the significance of domestic abuse allegations against him.

"I just read before I walked on stage a statement from the president saying he wishes him luck, he has so much talent," Biden said. "That's like saying, 'That axe murderer out there, he's a great painter.'"

"Translate this into everyday terms. Is there any other crime - and it's a crime - where there would be an explanation that the reason why we shouldn't pay attention to the transgression is because they're good at something?"

Biden's comments came after Trump said earlier Friday that the allegations against Porter were "very sad" and that the now-former aide "did a very good job while he was in the White House."

"I found out about it recently and I was surprised by it," Trump said. "We certainly wish him well. It's obviously a very tough time for him. He did a very good job while he was in the White House."

Porter resigned on Wednesday after allegations surfaced that he had physically abused two previous spouses. Photos were also published on Wednesday showing one of his accusers with a black eye that she says Porter gave her.

The White House has scrambled to contain the fallout from the allegations, especially after reports that some senior officials, including chief of staff John Kelly, knew for months about the accusations against Porter and that he was never granted a full security clearance because of them.

Biden has made ending violence against women a key issue of his post-White House career. The Biden Foundation, his nonprofit organization, has sought to draw attention to the issue, and Biden himself appeared in a public service announcement alongside musician Lady Gaga in October to raise awareness of sexual assault.

He's also working with the pop star to open trauma centers for victims of sexual assault.

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