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Rob Porter’s First Wife Not Happy That Kellyanne Conway Implied Women Who've Been Abused Are Not Strong

"While I cannot say I am surprised, I expected a woman to do better," says Colbie Holderness.

By Eric Shorey

On February 11th, the second ex-wife of former White House staff secretary Rob Porter penned an essay in Time that discussed her shock at the comments made by President Trump about the alleged abuse she faced at the hands of her former partner. Now, only days later, writing from Porter's first ex-wife, Colbie Holderness, is appearing in The Washington Post. In the piece, Holderness also expresses disgust at the handling of her allegations by the Trump administration, and specifically comments on her thoughts about controversial Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway's dismissive remarks.

Both Holderness and Jennie Willoughby had presented credible evidence of the abuse, including photos of the bruises caused by Porter's alleged attacks.

Trump had offered several comments on the matter, ultimately praising Porter: "[Porter] did a very good job when he was in the White House, and we hope he has a wonderful career, and he will have a great career ahead of him. But it was very sad when we heard about it, and certainly he’s also very sad now ... He also, as you probably know, says he is innocent, and I think you have to remember that."

Meanwhile, Conway took a slightly different stance: saying that she had no reason not to believe the accusers, Conway went on to speak highly of Porter's current paramour, the 29-year-old White House Communications Director Hope Hicks.

“I’ve rarely met somebody so strong with such excellent instincts and loyalty and smarts," Conway said of Hicks.

"Borrowing Conway’s words, I have no reason not to believe her when she says that Hicks is a strong woman. But her statement implies that those who have been in abusive relationships are not strong," says Holderness. "I beg to differ."

"Telling others about the abuse takes strength. Talking to family, friends, clergy, counselors and, later, the FBI, I would often find myself struggling to find the words to convey an adequate picture of the situation," Holderness continued. "Leaving and putting the pieces of your life back together take strength ... Being strong — with excellent instincts and loyalty and smarts — does not inoculate a person against abuse. It doesn’t prevent her from entering into a relationship with an abuser. Abuse often doesn’t manifest itself early on — only later, when you’re in deep and behind closed doors."

"While I cannot say I am surprised, I expected a woman to do better," Holderness concludes. "But Conway and I definitely agree on one thing she said during that interview: 'There’s a stigma and a silence surrounding all these issues. . . . Those who are in a position to do something about it ought to.'"

[Photo: Getty Images]

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