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Trump praises former White House aide

by Evan Wilt
Posted 2/09/18, 05:15 pm

UPDATE: President Donald Trump offered well-wishes Friday to former White House staff secretary Rob Porter, who resigned Wednesday amid abuse accusations. “He did a very good job while he was in the White House,” the president told reporters. “We certainly wish him well. It’s obviously a very tough time for him.” Trump said he hopes Porter, 40, will have a “wonderful career.” Porter denies accounts from his two ex-wives that he physically abused them. Vice President Mike Pence told NBC News on Friday he didn’t know about the domestic abuse claims until Porter resigned: “I was appalled when I learned of the allegations against Rob Porter. There’s no tolerance in this White House, no place in America for domestic abuse.”

OUR EARLIER REPORT (11:37 a.m.): WASHINGTON—Domestic abuse accusations against ex–White House staff secretary Rob Porter continue to loom over the Trump administration, with chief of staff John Kelly now facing claims he didn’t take Porter’s accusers seriously enough. Kelly adamantly supported his former employee while Porter’s two ex-wives claimed they suffered physically abusive marriages. The Trump administration apologized Thursday for the way it handled the accusations. “It’s fair to say we all could have done better over the last few hours or last few days in dealing with this situation,” White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah told reporters. Porter denies he abused his wives but decided to resign anyway. Kelly initially issued a statement defending Porter, calling him a man of true integrity and honor: “I can’t say enough good things about him.” Hours later, Porter’s first wife, Colbie Holderness, released photos of herself with a black eye she said Porter gave her. Kelly issued a new statement denouncing domestic violence, but added, “Every individual deserves the right to defend their reputation.” Porter recently started a romantic relationship with White House communications director Hope Hicks, who helped craft Kelly’s statements and weighed in on Porter’s resignation, according to The Wall Street Journal. Both Holderness and Porter’s second wife, Jennifer Willoughby, spoke with the FBI about Porter’s alleged abuse while he went through background checks for his Oval Office position. Shah claimed Kelly did not become “fully aware” of accusations against Porter until Wednesday.

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Evan Wilt

Evan is a reporter for WORLD Digital based in Washington, D.C.

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