Donald Trump’s gloating announcement that he has put forth a woman—“conservative feminist” and anti-abortion advocate Amy Coney Barrett—to fill Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s empty seat on the Supreme Court came on Saturday. The following day, Trump’s former campaign manager Brad Parscale was forcibly hospitalized by police in Florida, following an argument in which his wife says Parscale “cocked a gun in front of her.” His wife, who police say had bruises, reportedly told an officer that Parscale “hits her.”
Parscale is the fifth member of Trump’s team to be accused of domestic violence, the sixth if you count Trump himself. Add those who Trump courted, but were culled during the nomination process, and the number balloons. Which makes sense in an administration that has aligned itself with a vision of aggressive masculinity that subjugates by force.
Donald Trump ran for president in 2016 on a platform of America under attack—by liberals, foreign countries, and immigrants—and at the heart of the “Make America Great” ideology is that in order to be great, Republican leaders must constantly be on the counter-attack, whether it’s by overturning Roe v. Wade or locking children in cages. These acts of violence are justified by Donald Trump and his associates as a defense of America itself, and the attackers hailed as heroes by the president.
In lockstep with this defensive posturing, the Trump administration projects outsized masculinity, reminiscent of the kind Rush Limbaugh promoted on ’90s talk radio—loudmouth braggadociousness, unafraid of the “PC police” who might put a damper on jokes made at the expense of any group not comprised of straight white men. But the flip side of this aggressive masculinity is fear that the “culture wars” are coming for white manhood, which should be defended at all costs. So perhaps it stands to a kind of dark logic that the Trump administration probably doesn’t care that much if women have made claims that men on staff have personally physically attacked them.
In 2018, after White House staff secretary Rob Porter resigned from his post amid allegations of abuse from two ex-wives, the Atlantic reported that the administration would have known about the allegations all along, per an FBI background check. “Violence at home indicates a dangerous temperament for a high official, including vulnerability to blackmail,” the Atlantic speculated about the administration’s decision to keep him in the role regardless, calling the move a “fascinating question.”
But there’s no real question as to why the Trump administration wouldn’t see domestic violence as a red flag in its hiring processes when the boss has been accused of sexual assault by 26 women and admitted to sexually assaulting women in the now-infamous Billy Bush tapes.
The roster of allegations against Trump staffers are horrific in their uniformity, but they are not shocking. That a presidency which has defined itself by the idea of attacking and being attacked, would draw the kind of men who see physical violence as an acceptable response to feelings of anger or frustration was always, unfortunately, fairly likely.
Here is a running list of all the Trump associates who have been accused of domestic violence.
The former CEO of Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign White House chief strategist under Trump was charged in a 1996 domestic violence case. According to a police report, authorities arrived at Bannon and his wife’s Santa Monica residence following a January 1 911 hangup. When they arrived, Bannon’s then-wife reportedly told officers of a history of “physical altercations” between the pair and alleged that Bannon had grabbed her by the wrist and neck in an attempt to pull her into a car through the driver’s side window. He smashed her phone when she tried to dial the police, she said. Officers observed red marks on her wrist and neck. Bannon pled not guilty and court documents show that the case was dismissed when the “victim/witness” was “unable to be located.”
Joy Villa, the Trump supporter who wore a MAGA inspired dress to the 2017 Grammys, accused former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski of slapping her twice on the buttocks at a gathering in the Trump International Hotel. Lewandowski also faced battery charges after allegedly grabbing Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields at a 2016 press conference, though those charges were later dropped. At the time, Fields tweeted photographs of the bruises on her arm.
Donald Trump’s former campaign manager was arrested on September 27 after his wife, Candice, called police, claiming that Parscale had loaded a weapon after an argument between the two escalated. Police discovered bruises on her body that Candice says were made by her husband earlier in the week and reported that Parscale had ten weapons in his home.
Porter, a former aide to Trump, resigned amid allegations from two ex-wives that physical abuse was the main reason for both divorces. Colbie Holderness, Porter’s first wife, says that Porter began physically abusing her on their honeymoon. Over the course of their marriage, Holderness says Porter strangled and kicked her, and once, punched her in the face, providing photographs of the resultant black eye to CNN. Jennifer Willoughby, who married Porter in 2009, says that Porter called her a “fucking bitch” on their honeymoon for not consenting to sex often enough. The couple separated in 2010, during which time Willoughby was granted a temporary protective order against Porter, who punched through a window in their former home during an argument. She says that Porter became physically violent during a reconciliation in 2010 when Porter allegedly forcefully pulled her out of the shower to continue yelling at her after a fight.
The Trump administration’s 2017 nominee for Labor Secretary was accused of domestic violence in 1990 by his ex-wife, Lisa Fierstein, on an episode of The Oprah Winfrey Show. Fierstein said that during her marriage to Puzder, which ended in 1987, Puzder threw her to the ground, once punched her in the face, and kept her from calling 911 for help. Later, Fierstein said she only appeared on the show as leverage in the divorce proceedings but chose to hide her identity and wear a wig and dark sunglasses during the appearance.
The former Boeing executive who was Donald Trump’s pick to replace Jim Mattis for Secretary of Defence had to remove himself from the nomination process after an FBI background check uncovered allegations of domestic violence. In a 2010 police report, authorities say that both Shanahan and his now ex-wife accused one another of punching during an argument in their Seattle home. In 2011, Shanahan also defended his then-17-year-old son after he was accused of beating his mother with a baseball bat in an incident that “unconscious in a pool of blood, her skull fractured and with internal injuries that required surgery.” Shanahan wrote in a memo filed during a custody hearing that his son had acted in self-defense “She fueled the situation by berating him repeatedly in his room in a manner that escalated emotionally and physically,” the memo read, in part.
The former White House speechwriter resigned in the wake of Rob Porter’s departure after his ex-wife told the FBI and the Washington Post that Sorensen had been emotionally and physically abusive to her over the course of their two-and-a-half-year marriage. Jessica Corbett said that during their relationship, Sorensen “ran a car over her foot, put out a cigarette on her hand, threw her into a wall and grasped her menacingly by her hair while they were alone on their boat.” She also told the Post that she gave the FBI this information during its background check of Sorensen, but, like Porter, he was hired in spite of the allegations.
The first domestic violence and sexual assault allegations against President Trump came in a 1990 deposition from his first wife, Ivana Trump during their divorce. Ivana swore that during an argument over Trump’s scalp reduction surgery, he attacked her and ripped hair from her head before raping her. Since then 25 other women have accused the president of sexual assault, including writer E. Jean Carroll who says Trump raped her in the dressing room at Bergdorf Goodman in the mid-1990s.
We will continue updating this post if new information emerges.