White House chief of staff John Kelly said there is “no place for domestic violence” after reports about White House staff secretary Rob Porter allegedly abused his ex-wives, but Kelly defended his prior comments he had made praising Porter’s character.
“I was shocked by the new allegations released today against Rob Porter,” Kelly said in a statement late Wednesday. “There is no place for domestic violence in our society. I stand by my previous comments of the Rob Porter that I have come to know since becoming Chief of Staff, and believe every individual deserves the right to defend their reputation. I accepted his resignation earlier today, and will ensure a swift and orderly transition.”
In a statement on Tuesday, Kelly praised Porter in response to a report from the Daily Mail claiming Porter 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.
“Rob Porter is a man of true integrity and honor and I can’t say enough good things about him,” he said in a statement. “He is a friend, a confidante and a trusted professional. I am proud to serve alongside him.”
Porter’s first wife then told the Daily Mail in a separate report 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.
A senior Trump administration official said Kelly knew about the 2010 protective order and that it restricted Porter from obtaining full security clearance, according to Politico. Additionally, Kelly weighed removing Porter but did not.
Kelly’s praise for Porter has drawn ire from other White House staffers, Vanity Fair reported. Sources told the outlet that Kelly and Porter have gotten close since Kelly joined the White House staff.
Porter announced Wednesday he would be stepping down from his post, but denied the credibility of the allegations.
“These outrageous allegations are simply false. I took the photos given to the media nearly 15 years ago and the reality behind them is nowhere close to what is being described,” Porter said in a statement on Wednesday when he revealed he would be resigning. “I have been transparent and truthful about these vile claims, but I will not further engage publicly with a coordinated smear campaign.”
Porter is said to be officially out of the White House on Thursday, a White House official told the New York Times.
Rob Porter to be gone tomorrow, per a WH source— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) February 8, 2018