Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, was not aware of the details surrounding media reports about White House staff secretary Rob Porter allegedly abused his ex-wives when he composed a statement defending Porter, according to a report.
Two different statements from Hatch emerged on Wednesday responding to the accusations against Porter as detailed in the Daily Mail, but Hatch had only been told that there was an attempt to undercut Porter concerning his marriages when he wrote the first statement, CNN reported.
"The statement was prepared before any accusations were printed but with the understanding that his past marital troubles would be used against him," an aide to Hatch said.
Sources told CNN that the White House started collecting statements supporting Porter after it learned that details concerning alleged abuse of his ex-wives would be published. Porter had been a part of the process, asking Hatch for a statement and the Daily Mail obtained that same response that was received by the White House.
"It's incredibly discouraging to see such a vile attack on such a decent man,” the statement read. “Shame on any publication that would print this — and shame on the politically motivated, morally bankrupt character assassins that would attempt to sully a man's good name. I know Rob. I've known him for years, both as a close friend and as a personal advisor. He is kind and considerate towards all. The country needs more honest, principled people like Rob Porter, which is why I hope that this cynical campaign to discredit his character ultimately fails."
But once Hatch was informed about the severity of the allegations, he issued a second statement saying he was “heartbroken” over the news.
"I am heartbroken by today's allegations,” the statement said. “In every interaction I've had with Rob, he has been courteous, professional, and respectful. My staff loved him and he was a trusted advisor. I do not know the details of Rob's personal life. Domestic violence in any form is abhorrent. I am praying for Rob and those involved."
The Daily Mail published a report Tuesday claiming Porter, who was previously Hatch’s chief of staff, called his second wife a “fucking bitch” while they were on their honeymoon and grabbed her out the shower on one occasion. The report also featured a protective order that she obtained in 2010.
Porter’s first wife then told the Daily Mail for a separate report published Wednesday that the former White House aide had punched her face, choked her, and other abuses. The second report featured a photo of his first wife with a black eye.
Porter announced Wednesday that he would be resigning from his post at the White House, but denied the accusations.