Republican lawmaker: Rob Porter's wife-beating wasn't a 'crime of character'

Republican Rep. Claudia Tenney opened up several cans of worms in her comments on the White House’s handling of the Rob Porter scandal. Tenney didn’t seem to know much about the situation, but that didn’t stop her from having opinions. Lots of opinions. Like that domestic violence is not a “crime of character.”

First, though, Tenney tried to dismiss the whole issue: “We’re also getting into the minutiae of what’s going on with White House,” Tenney said of allowing someone to remain in a job controlling the flow of papers to the president of the United States for months after the FBI found serious problems in the background check for his security clearance. This is not minutiae.

But about those crimes of character:

Informed of the fact that the FBI was looking into the allegations as part of its background check of Porter, and that there was potential concern over the possibility of the staffer being blackmailed, Tenney shot down that possibility.

“Right, except blackmail and domestic situations don’t really line up, they’re not crimes of character,” she said. “They’re [crimes of] character but they’re not dishonesty—know this. To me… just because somebody has been accused of these things and even if they’re true that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s going to be dishonest and commit blackmail. I don’t think it was a great hire if these are true, but again, are these true?”

Aside from the fact that the concern is that Porter would be vulnerable to blackmail because he wanted to hide his wife-beating ways from the world, not that domestic abusers have a heightened propensity for committing blackmail, NOT CRIMES OF CHARACTER? Or, “character but they’re not dishonesty,” although given that Porter was actively trying to hide his history with ridiculous excuses like that he didn’t punch through his second wife’s window, he just tapped on it with a finger until his knuckle went through it, there are some freaking honesty issues here, too.

Tenney, who represents New York’s 22nd Congressional District, has a serious Democratic opponent this year in state Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi. Let’s hope she continues to bring this level of eloquence and panache to her campaigning.

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