A White House official told Fox News that staff secretary Rob Porter’s exit could come as early as Thursday as questions over the handling of the domestic abuse claims against him have intensified.
Porter announced his resignation Wednesday but decried the allegations by his two ex-wives as a “smear campaign.”
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders initially told reporters Wednesday Porter’s resignation would not be immediate to ensure a “smooth transition." However, his departure could come sooner rather than later as questions over the internal handling of the claims against Porter have heated up.
A senior White House official told Politico that White House chief of staff John Kelly had been aware of the abuse for months, citing a 2010 protective order obtained by Porter’s second wife that was preventing Porter from receiving a full security clearance.
Kelly praised Porter’s character Tuesday responding to a report from the Daily Mail that Porter allegedly called his a second wife a “fucking bitch” on their honeymoon and pulled her from the shower.
“Rob Porter is a man of true integrity and honor, and I can’t say enough good things about him,” Kelly said in a statement responding to the Daily Mail. “He is a friend, a confidante, and a trusted professional. I am proud to serve alongside him.”
More than 24 hours later, Kelly released a second statement following the publication of photographs of Porter’s first wife showing abuse Wednesday.
“I was shocked by the new allegations released today against Rob Porter,” Kelly said. “There is no place for domestic violence in our society.”
However, Kelly continued in defense of Porter’s character.
“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,” Kelly said.