Trump Administration’s Top Job Preventing Violence Against Women Remains Unfilled

A day after President Donald Trump condemned domestic violence amid the furor surrounding recent allegations against a former top aide, it was reported that the White House has yet to nominate a director for its office in charge of preventing violence against women. 

The Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women has been without a leader since Trump took office more than a year ago, The Washington Post reported Thursday. The office runs on a budget of more than $450 million and administers 25 grant programs that help victims.

Earlier this week, Trump released his anticipated budget, which included a proposal for a 1 percent increase in funding to tackle violence against women as a national conversation has heated up on the issue.

“We’ve condemned domestic violence in every way possible,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters on Tuesday. “In fact, the president’s budget that he released yesterday fully funds the Violence Against Women Act. We’re looking for ways that we can take action to help prevent this from ever happening to anyone.”

Trump President Donald Trump wants to see drug dealers face the death penalty. MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images

The Violence Against Women Act passed in 1994, funded programs aimed at preventing domestic and sexual violence. But as Trump took office following a campaign during which sexual assault allegations were made against him, the White House sought a slew of federal cuts, including funding for the VAWA.

In 2013, the Obama administration reauthorized the VAWA, expanding the legislation and extending the act to increase protections for gay, bisexual and transgender survivors, as well as to Native Americans.

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, at least 10 million incidents of domestic violence occur every year.

For more than a week, the White House has been besieged by controversy over what was known, and when, about allegations of domestic abuse against staff secretary Rob Porter. Particular focus has fallen on White House chief of staff John Kelly's handling of the matter, but Trump similarly initially defended Porter.

On Wednesday, the president told reporters at a photo opportunity that he is “totally opposed to domestic violence.”

"I'm totally opposed to domestic violence of any kind. Everyone knows that. And it almost wouldn't even have to be said. So now you hear it, but you all know,” Trump said.

Still, the Republican chairman of the House Oversight Committee has launched an investigation into how Porter had access to highly confidential documents and was allowed access to the Oval Office without a permanent security clearance. 

The Department of Justice did not respond to a request for comment.