In moving essay, Colbie Holderness describes how it feels to be in — and leave — an abusive relationship
Colbie Holderness, the first wife of former White House staff secretary Rob Porter, is pushing back against comments White House counselor Kellyanne Conway made over the weekend regarding the abuse that Holderness and Porter's other ex-wife, Jennifer Willoughby, say they suffered during their marriages.
On CNN's State of the Union on Sunday, Conway said she didn't have any reason to not believe the women, but when asked if she was afraid for Porter's rumored new girlfriend, White House Communications Director Hope Hicks, Conway replied, "I've rarely met somebody so strong with such excellent instincts and loyalty and smarts." This, Holderness wrote in an op-ed for The Washington Post published Monday night, "implies that those who have been in abusive relationships are not strong. I beg to differ."
It takes strength to recognize and survive an abusive relationship, Holderness said, and "it's often the subtler forms of abuse that inflict serious, persistent damage while making it hard for the victim to see the situation clearly." Holderness said she lived in "constant fear" of Porter's anger, and being "subjected to his degrading tirades for years chipped away at my independence and sense of self-worth." When she did finally leave Porter, who denies the allegations of abuse, Holderness said her self-confidence was "so destroyed" and it took years to get her professional life back on track.
Because victims are so intertwined with their abusers, through marriage, children, and money, it's hard to leave, and "the bottom line is, it takes strength to pull yourself away and start over," Holderness said. It's important to remember that having "excellent instincts and loyalty and smarts" does not "inoculate a person against abuse," and it can be very easy to overlook a person's nature if you are "blinded by a stellar résumé and background." Read Holderness' entire op-ed at The Washington Post. Catherine Garcia
On Monday morning, 16 women who have come forward and accused President Trump of sexual misconduct will hold a press conference, calling on Congress to open an investigation into their allegations.
The press conference will start at 10:30 a.m. ET, shortly after three of the women — Jessica Leeds, Samantha Holvey, and Rachel Crooks — are scheduled to appear on Megyn Kelly Today to share their own stories. Leeds said that during a flight in the 1980s, Trump groped her, and Crooks said in 2005, while working as a receptionist for a company with an office in Manhattan's Trump Tower, she introduced herself to Trump while waiting for an elevator and he forcibly kissed her. Holvey said while competing as Miss North Carolina in the 2006 Miss USA pageant, Trump came backstage to ogle the women, telling CNN she felt as though "we were just sexual objects, we were not people."
Crooks told CNN in November it's been tough to watch as men accused of sexual misconduct, like producer Harvey Weinstein, have lost their jobs, while Trump is still in the White House, seemingly untouchable. "I think it's just evidence of sort of the political atmosphere these days, we're forgotten by politicians who think it's more convenient to keep Trump in office, you know, have him just sweeping his indiscretions under the rug." Trump has denied all of the accusations. Catherine Garcia
After President Trump made a snide remark about Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) during an event Monday honoring Native American code talkers who served in World War II, referring to her as "Pocahontas," several Native American groups spoke out against his comment.
"The name becomes a derogatory racial reference when used as an insult," Dr. J.R. Norwood, the general secretary of the Alliance of Colonial Era Tribes, said in a statement. "American Indian names, whether they be historic or contemporary, are not meant to be used as insults. To do so is to reduce them to racial slurs." Russell Begaye, president of the Navajo Nation, said that "in this day and age, all tribal nations still battle insensitive references to our people. The prejudice that Native American people face is an unfortunate historical legacy."
Trump has called the senator "Pocahontas" on several occasions. Warren told MSNBC it was "deeply unfortunate that the president of the United States cannot even make it through a ceremony honoring these heroes without having to throw out a racial slur." Warren, who says she has Native American ancestry, has been criticized by some conservatives for registering as a minority in law school directories during the 1980s. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump didn't use a slur, called Warren's response "ridiculous," and accused Warren of lying about her heritage "to advance her career." Catherine Garcia
Adding to the bevy of sexual harassment and assault accusations against film mogul Harvey Weinstein, actress and model Cara Delevingne has come forward with her own account.
In her statement, Delevingne recalled how when she was first starting out in the industry, Weinstein called her and told her "that if [she] was gay or decided to be with a woman especially in public … [she'd] never … make it as an actress in Hollywood." Delevingne "hurried off the phone," she said, but a year or two later had another uncomfortable interaction with Weinstein, this time face-to-face:
He then invited me to his room. I quickly declined [...] I felt very powerless and scared but didn't want to act that way, hoping that I was wrong about the situation. When I arrived I was relieved to find another woman in his room and thought immediately I was safe. He asked us to kiss [...] I swiftly got up and asked him if he knew that I could sing. And I began to sing....I thought it would make the situation better….more professional….like an audition….I was so nervous. After singing I said again that I had to leave. He walked me to the door and stood in front of it and tried to kiss me on the lips. I stopped him and managed to get out of the room. [Cara Delevingne]
In her statement, which she sent to New York contributor Yashar Ali, Delevingne denounced Weinstein's actions and reminded women and girls "that being harassed or abused or raped is NEVER their fault and not talking about it will always cause more damage than speaking the truth." You can read her whole account below. Karen Hui
— Yashar Ali (@yashar) October 11, 2017
On Twitter Tuesday, actor Terry Crews described an incident that took place last year, when an unnamed "high level Hollywood executive" groped him in front of his wife.
Crews said hearing about the allegations of sexual misconduct against producer Harvey Weinstein gave him "PTSD" because "the same kind of thing happened to me." While at a Hollywood function, the executive "came over to me and groped my privates," Crews tweeted. "Jumping back, I said, 'What are you doing?' My wife saw everything and we looked at him like he was crazy. He just grinned like a jerk." Crews said he wanted to "kick his ass," but knew the headlines would say "240-pound black man stomps out Hollywood honcho" and he thought he'd end up in jail.
Crews did not stay silent, though — he said he told everyone he knew that had worked with the man about what happened, and the executive called him and apologized "but never really explained why he did what he did." Crews decided not to take things further because he "didn't want to be ostracized — par for the course when the predator has power and influence. I let it go. And I understand why many women who this happens to let it go." Crews wants victims, both inside and outside of Hollywood, to know they are not alone. "Hopefully, me coming forward with my story will deter a predator and encourage someone who feels hopeless," he said. Catherine Garcia
Film producer Harvey Weinstein was fired from the company he co-founded on Sunday, following a New York Times report about actresses and colleagues accusing Weinstein of sexual harassment, and the payments Weinstein made to at least eight of the women. On Monday, several of Hollywood's biggest stars, including actresses and directors who worked closely with Weinstein, spoke out against what they called his "disgraceful" and "appalling" behavior.
Meryl Streep said in a statement the news has "appalled those of us whose work he championed, and those whose good and worthy causes he supported. The intrepid women who raised their voices to expose this abuse are our heroes." Streep clarified that "not everybody knew" about the allegations, and said she did not hear about his financial settlements or "inappropriate coercive acts." His behavior was "inexcusable, but the abuse of power familiar. Each brave voice that is raised, heard, and credited by our watchdog media will ultimately change the game."
In a statement, Kate Winslet said that the women who came forward to speak out against Weinstein's "gross misconduct" are "incredibly brave." The way Weinstein treated these "vulnerable, talented young women is not the way women should ever deem to be acceptable or commonplace in any workplace," Winslet continued, and his "behavior is without question disgraceful and appalling and very, very wrong."
Their sentiments were echoed by other actresses and directors, including Dame Judi Dench, who said his offenses were "horrifying" and offered her "sympathy to those who have suffered and wholehearted support to those who have spoken out." Kevin Smith tweeted that Weinstein "financed the first 14 years of my career — and now I know while I was profiting, others were in terrible pain. It makes me feel ashamed." Catherine Garcia
The rabbi who oversaw Ivanka Trump's conversion to Judaism sent a letter to members of Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun, a modern Orthodox synagogue in Manhattan, condemning the comments made by President Trump in the aftermath of a violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville.
The letter, sent Wednesday evening, was signed by Rabbi Emeritus Haskel Lookstein, as well as his successors, Rabbi Chaim Steinmetz and Rabbi Elie Weinstock, New York reports. The rabbis said they were "appalled by this resurgence of bigotry and antisemitism, and the renewed vigor of the neo-Nazis, KKK, and alt-right. While we avoid politics, we are deeply troubled by the moral equivalency and equivocation President Trump has offered in his response to this act of violence."
Because of his close ties to Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, Lookstein was invited to speak last year at the Republican National Convention; he was going to give the invocation but changed his mind after backlash from the modern Orthodox community, New York reports. While President Trump on Tuesday blamed the violence on "both sides," his eldest daughter tweeted on Sunday that there should be "no place in society for racism, white supremacy, and neo-Nazis. We must all come together as Americans — and be one country UNITED." Catherine Garcia
Led by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Democrats gathered outside the Supreme Court on Monday night to denounce President Trump's executive order that at least temporarily bars travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States.
Pelosi said "many of our Republican colleagues" agree with Democrats that "what the president did undermines our values and is not in support of the oath of office that we take, to support and defend the Constitution of the United States." The strength of the United States is "in our diversity," she added, and "the revitalization constantly of America comes from our immigrant population."
Schumer said the "inhumane" order makes Americans "unsafe," because it encourages "lone wolves" and will cause our troops fighting overseas to lose allies. The U.S. has long been a "beacon of light" to people oppressed because of their religion and political beliefs, and "we will not let this evil order make us less American," he said. "We will fight against it with everything we have, and we will win this fight." Earlier, Senate Republicans blocked an effort by Schumer to vote on legislation reversing the order. Catherine Garcia