A top White House aide is stepping down following allegations of domestic abuse by his two ex-wives. The White House press secretary read part of staff secretary Rob Porter's statement, in which he claims the allegations are "simply false." (Feb. 7) AP
White House staff secretary Rob Porter, known as a part of President Trump's inner circle, resigned from his position Wednesday following accusations of abuse from his ex-wives.
Here's what we know:
Who is he?
Rob Porter, 40, is a White House staff secretary who worked closely with Trump, often accompanying him on official travel. He's even credited with helping craft Trump's State of the Union address. As staff secretary, Porter is responsible for the flow of presidential paperwork around the West Wing and to the president’s desk. The job is an important gatekeeper to the Oval Office, ensuring that executive orders, decision memos, bills, nominations and other actions are thoroughly vetted before reaching the president.
While he resigned from the position Wednesday, he isn't leaving immediately. He'll stay on to ensure a smooth transition, according to the White House.
Porter joined the Trump administration in January 2017. He is a a Harvard Law School graduate and worked as chief of staff to Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch for almost three years. Porter also worked for Republican Sens. Rob Portman of Ohio and Mike Lee of Utah.
Here's what his ex-wives say
One ex-wife, Colbie Holderness, alleges Porter had choked, punched and emotionally abused her during their five-year marriage. Holderness told her story to the Daily Mail, providing photos that featured her with a black eye.
Another ex-wife, Jennifer Willoughby, told the same publication that Porter verbally abused her on their 2009 honeymoon and once dragged her out of the shower.
How Porter responded to the allegations
Porter called the allegations "outrageous" and "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. "I have been transparent and truthful about these vile claims, but I will not further engage publicly with a coordinated smear campaign."
Porter said his commitment to public service "speaks for itself."
John Kelly was 'shocked' at the accusations
White House chief of staff John Kelly said Wednesday night he was "shocked by the new allegations," adding "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."
Earlier, Kelly defended Porter, saying he had "full confidence" in Porter's abilities and performance. That remark drew criticism from a former director of the Office of Government Ethics. Walter Shaub tweeted Thursday that Kelly "protected a wife beater."
Jessica Estepa, Gregory Korte and David Jackson contributed to this report. Follow Ashley May on Twitter: @AshleyMayTweets