Rob Porter, the Trump administration's White House staff secretary, has resigned from his position in the wake of accusations pertaining to domestic abuse being made from two of his ex-wives. The women claim that the FBI was informed of Porter's physically abusive behavior in January of 2017.
According to The Washington Post, the two accusers told the FBI about the abuse during interviews pertaining to Porter's security clearance. The extent to which the FBI passed on that information to the White House is unclear. The FBI has not offered an official comment on the situation.
Porter maintains his innocence, but he announced his resignation on Tuesday.
White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly had reportedly attempted to convince Porter to maintain his position. Porter's decision to resign became final after pictures of a badly bruised accuser, Colbie Holderness, began circulating.
“He threw me down and punched me in the face,” Holderness said. “He was trying to make it up to me, and I said I wanted evidence if this should happen again.”
“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. “I have been transparent and truthful about these vile claims, but I will not further engage publicly with a coordinated smear campaign.”
“I was shocked by the new allegations released today against Rob Porter. There is no place for domestic violence in our society,” Kelly said. “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.”
Meanwhile, The Post obtained documents that showed that Porter’s second wife, Jennie Willoughby, had obtained a temporary emergency protective order in 2010 after an altercation during which Porter refused to leave her property and smashed her window with his fists. The Post declared that document concludes “reasonable grounds exist to believe that [Porter] has committed family abuse and there is probable danger of a further such offense.”
Evidence of Porter's violence was corroborated by a friend of Willoughby's, Kathryn Hughes: “She told me that he had been screaming at her while she was in the shower and yanked her out and bruised her. [...] She also told me he was verbally abusive, and I witnessed some of that.”
“I thought by sharing my story with the FBI he wouldn’t be put in that post,” Holderness said. “I’m telling the FBI this is what he’s done, and Jennie Willoughby is telling them what he’s done, and the White House says, sure, this is okay? I was let down by that.”
“He has never faced repercussions that forced him to confront his issues,” Willoughby added. “I care about him and want what’s best for him, but that doesn’t necessarily mean him keeping his job, because he needs to face these underlying issues. [...] In my experience, his anger and his lashing out is very much limited to intimate, personal romantic relationships. He has the ability to compartmentalize and maintain his integrity and professionalism at work... He is charming and intelligent and fun and chivalrous and — in capital letters — angry and deeply flawed.”
When reporters asked press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders about the president's position on the answer, she simply replied with, “I don’t know.”
The date of Porter's actual departure from his position remains unclear.
[Photo: Getty Images]