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Sun, June 16

Bess column: What if it was your daughter, Mr. President?

Imagine late one night, there’s a knock at your front door. You open it. Standing before you is your grown daughter. She’s crying. Her nose has been bloodied, one eye is puffy and bruised. She tells you her husband hit her.

Now, imagine your daughter’s name is Ivanka, and you’re the president of the United States. She tells you your son-in-law, your close adviser, Jared, did this to her. You confront him. He tells you he didn’t do it.

Do you believe him? After all, he said he didn’t do it. 

In another scenario, what if it’s your close adviser and communications director, Hope Hicks?

Would you believe her if she told you the guy she’s been dating did that to her? What if that guy also says he didn’t physically or emotionally or psychologically abuse either of his two ex-wives? Would you believe him — a guy who, until last week, was with you every day of your presidency, handling highly classified correspondence and papers (despite being denied a permanent security clearance)?

 Would you believe Hope, even if her accused boyfriend, Rob Porter, says he didn’t do it?

None of us can answer those questions for the president. And it might be that he is not concerned with domestic violence and its consequences.

However, according to the Violence Policy Institute, nearly three women are murdered in the United States each day by current or former romantic partners. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported that nearly 4.8 million women experience physical violence by an intimate partner every year. 

It could be that the president, who, famously, doesn’t like to read, is unaware of those statistics.

In any case, the president said that Porter was “falsely accused” and that the statements of Porter’s ex-wives, Jennifer Willoughby and Colbie Holderness, were “mere allegations.”

In an op-ed in “Time” last week, Willoughby asks, “If the most powerful people in the nation do not believe my story of abuse in the face of overwhelming evidence, then what hope do others have of being heard?”

If Trump had his way, the answer to that question would be no hope at all. Not for Hope Hicks or Trump’s daughters, Ivanka and Tiffany, nor for any woman who is a victim of domestic violence.

The number of women who have stepped forward and accused this president, himself, of predatory behavior and inappropriate sexual misconduct numbers in the dozens. Given his age, the number of his victims is likely far greater.

Why would these women lie? And why is it that the so-called “leader of the free world” is so quick to deny their accusations and further evidence provided by the FBI? Oh, beg pardon, that’s the corrupt agency trying to “get Trump.”

The president lives, breathes, and believes his own brand of reality. Throughout his life, he’s surrounded himself with rapists, sexual predators, abusive men and other misogynists. Some are good friends who just got a raw deal, he says. 

Trump believes pedophiles, such as former Alabama senatorial candidate Roy Moore, should be taken at their word. No matter how many women, at great emotional and personal risk, stepped forward and reported experiencing unwanted advances by this self-proclaimed man of God when they were just teenagers.

Trump also stood by Mike Tyson --- the former World Heavyweight Boxing Champion and convicted rapist. Trump said Tyson was the victim of the 18 year old who accused Tyson. Trump called Tyson’s conviction “a travesty.”

Trump also defends his billionaire friend Jeffrey Epstein, a convicted pedophile, who, according to court records, molested more than 40 young girls at Epstein’s Florida mansion

In 2002, Trump told New York Magazine that Epstein is a “terrific guy. He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it, Jeffrey enjoys his social life.”

As does the president.

Terrific guy, that Epstein. A lot of fun to be with. Especially when he’s soliciting 13-year-old girls for prostitution, a crime for which he was convicted. He is also alleged to have recruited dozens of underage girls into a sex-slave network.

Regardless of whether you are a Trump supporter, ask yourself, what would you say or do if it was your daughter who had been sexually assaulted or domestically abused?

Most likely, you would not give her husband, boyfriend, girlfriend, wife, or domestic partner the benefit of the doubt. You might even consider doing something in retaliation.

Trump said, “There is no recovery for someone falsely accused — life and career are gone.”

He says lives have been “shattered.”

What about the shattered lives of the ex-wives and ex-girlfriends of your former aide, Mr. President? Those women all contend they encountered nearly identical episodes of abuse when romantically involved with Porter.

Some may be appalled by this column. But the words, actions, and behavior of a former reality television star turned commander-in-chief are what is appalling.

Blair Bess is a Los Angeles-based television writer, producer, and columnist. He edits the online blog, and can be reached at


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