WASHINGTON — President Trump on Friday praised Rob Porter, the White House staff secretary who resigned on Wednesday amid spousal abuse allegations, saying it was a “tough time” for the disgraced former aide and noting that Mr. Porter had denied the accusations.
Sources: Chief of Staff John Kelly expressed to President Trump willingness to resign
“We wish him well,” Mr. Trump said of Mr. Porter, who was accused of physical and emotional abuse by two ex-wives. The president added, “As you probably know, he says he is innocent.”
Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Calif.) criticized President TrumpDonald John TrumpTillerson: Russia already looking to interfere in 2018 midterms Dems pick up deep-red legislative seat in Missouri Speier on Trump’s desire for military parade: ‘We have a Napoleon in the making’ MORE for praising former White House staff secretary Rob Porter — who resigned from his job after allegations of domestic abuse surfaced.
Dem lawmaker rips Trump for ‘appallingly unpresidential’ defense of Porter
“He worked very hard,” Mr. Trump told reporters in the Oval Office. He said he had only “recently” learned of the allegations against Mr. Porter and was surprised.
“He 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,” Mr. Trump said. “But it was very sad when we heard about it, and certainly he’s also very sad now.”
Rob Porter scandal reveals a White House with no principles
The glowing praise of a staff member accused of serial violence against women was in line with the president’s own denials of sexual impropriety despite accusations from more than a dozen women and his habit of accepting claims of innocence from men facing similar allegations. Among them was Roy Moore, the former Republican Senate candidate in Alabama, who is accused of molesting teenage girls.
Dow bounces more than 300 points Friday, but still posts worst week in 2 years
Mr. Trump’s comments came as a new timeline emerged indicating that top officials knew much earlier than previously disclosed that Mr. Porter faced accusations of violence against women.
Markets out of whack? Investors say we’re only getting back to normal
Shortly after Mr. Trump’s inauguration, Donald F. McGahn II, the White House counsel, first learned from Mr. Porter himself that there were abuse allegations against him, according to two people briefed on the situation. Mr. McGahn’s knowledge of the accusations in January was first reported by The Washington Post.
Stocks close higher, but end week 5 percent down
Mr. Porter told him about the allegations because he was concerned that what he characterized as false charges could derail his F.B.I. background check, according to one of the two people briefed on the matter.
Six months later, the F.B.I. told Mr. McGahn that accusations had indeed surfaced in Mr. Porter’s background check. Mr. McGahn opted at that time to let the F.B.I. complete its investigation into any incidents. Mr. Porter assured Mr. McGahn, another person briefed on the matter said, that the accusations from the former wives were lies.
Trump on Friday morning praised Porter’s work in the White House, saying that he “wishes him well” and hopes he has a “great career ahead of him.”
The emerging timeline illustrates the degree to which Mr. Porter, a clean-cut and ambitious former Rhodes scholar and Harvard-educated lawyer, concealed troublesome episodes from his past that would normally be considered disqualifying for a senior White House aide.
Those efforts appear to have succeeded for months, at least in part because of the willingness of a virtually all-male staff in the top echelons of the West Wing to believe a talented male colleague over women they had never met.
Locust Grove officer killed, 2 Henry County deputies wounded in shooting; suspect dead
Lawyers in the counsel’s office believed that the bureau — with its vast investigative powers — was best positioned to look into the accusations, the two people briefed on the matter said, and believed it was not their job to investigate conduct that took place long before an official began working in the administration.
Pence’s Olympic mission — rebuff North Korea’s propaganda
That represents a sharp break with past practice, in which White House counsels undertook elaborate vetting of senior advisers before they were hired — and looked into any serious allegations that surfaced thereafter.
In November, the White House heard back from the F.B.I. Senior White House officials, including John F. Kelly, the chief of staff, Joe Hagin, the deputy chief of staff, and Mr. McGahn received word from the bureau that the allegations were credible and that Mr. Porter was not likely to pass his background check.
But while Mr. McGahn privately informed Mr. Porter and encouraged him to consider moving on, according to one of the two people briefed, no action was taken to immediately terminate him. Rather, Mr. McGahn requested that the F.B.I. complete its investigation and come back to the White House with a final recommendation, a process that could take months.
It’s Time for the Pop-Up Olympics
It was unclear precisely what Reince Priebus, the former chief of staff who was instrumental in recruiting Mr. Porter, knew about the matter before he left. One of the two people briefed on the matter said that Mr. Priebus was told there was an issue with Mr. Porter’s clearance. Mr. Priebus has told people that he was unaware of the details and didn’t know that Mr. Porter had ex-wives.
Also unknown is whether Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, who became strong allies of Mr. Porter and sought to promote him wherever possible internally, were aware of his troubles.
Regardless of whether they knew details, there were a significant number of people who were aware that there was something unseemly in the ether about Mr. Porter, and none appear to have sought more information.
At least two weeks ago, members of the White House communications office were alerted that journalists were beginning to ask questions about Mr. Porter and his ex-wives and his security clearance, according to three people familiar with the discussions. There was no effort made to try to address the issue, and White House aides tried to wait it out.
Within the West Wing, staff members also appeared to be obfuscating with their own colleagues. Mr. Hagin insisted that he was unaware of the F.B.I.’s concerns as The Daily Mail published an initial article about the allegations against Mr. Porter. So did Mr. Kelly, who denied to some of his aides that he was aware of any specifics about Mr. Porter last fall.
The president added: “We hope he has a wonderful career. … Very sad when we heard about it. He’s very sad. He also, as you probably know, he says he’s innocent.”
The common thread in the West Wing was that Mr. Porter was among the few staff members who were widely liked and who had not become a major target of the warring factions in the White House.
One White House staffer said that despite the president’s frustration, “I don’t think he wants to fire anybody because there’s too much drama.”
Calif. Democrat Cristina Garcia, prominent voice in #MeToo, on leave after groping complaint
One person who appeared unaware of what was taking place was Mr. Trump, who was livid when he learned of the allegations, according to two advisers. He spent Thursday working the phones, referring to Mr. Porter in one call as “bad garbage,” according to the advisers, and expressing his frustration with both Mr. Kelly and Hope Hicks, the White House communications director, to others. Ms. Hicks had been dating Mr. Porter and was one of the officials behind initial White House statements supporting him.
The president, who is frustrated with how Mr. Kelly handled the matter, has now sounded out several people about possible replacement chiefs of staff. Those possible replacements include Mick Mulvaney, the budget director; Representative Kevin McCarthy of California; and Gary Cohn, Mr. Trump’s top economic adviser.
Jennifer Willoughby, the second wife of President Trump’s staff secretary Rob Porter has spoken on the record to DailyMail.com about her abusive marriage to the man described as one of the most important players in the Oval Office.
Willoughby, 39, told DailyMail.com she was ‘walking on eggshells’ during their marriage due to his explosive anger.
Porter’s first wife Colbie Holderness confirmed to DailyMail.com: ‘He was verbally, emotionally and physically abusive and that is why I left.’
How Alibaba’s Jack Ma Became Theresa May’s New Brexit Guru
Last week, DailyMail.com revealed that Porter has been dating White House Director of Communications Hope Hicks.
Barnier and Davis wage war of words over Brexit transition claims
When reached for comment, Porter told DailyMail.com: ‘I will not comment about these matters, beyond stating that many of these allegations are slanderous and simply false.’
Soros & the £400k Question: What constitutes ‘foreign interference’ in democracy?
John Kelly, Chief of Staff, commented: ‘Rob Porter is a man of true integrity and honor, and I can’t say enough good things about him. He is a friend, a confidante and a trusted professional. I am proud to serve alongside him.’
‘I have worked directly with Rob Porter nearly every day for the last year and the person I know is someone of the highest integrity and exemplary character,’ Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told DailyMail.com.
Willoughby – who bears more than a passing resemblance to glamorous Hicks – claims that on December 22, 2010, Porter pulled her naked from the shower by the shoulders and yelled at her.
Jennifer Willoughby, the second wife of President Trump’s staff secretary Rob Porter has spoken on the record to DailyMail.com about her abusive marriage
Hope Hicks, 29, was spotted stepping out of her D.C. apartment with White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter ten days ago
This is a somewhat unusual scandal in that it doesn’t seem to involve Trump himself doing something corrupt, despicable or bizarre. But it is nonetheless a very Trumpian scandal, in that it provides a window into so much of the pathology that Trump has created in his administration.
Combined Korean Team Ready to Shed Politics in Olympic Debut
‘I want to be very clear when I say this,’ Willoughby said. ‘I don’t want to be married to him. I would not recommend anyone to date him or marry him. But I definitely want him in the White House and the position he is in. I think his integrity and ability to do his job is impeccable. And the majority of the issues he suffers from are very personal and intimate.’
US hockey team builds chemistry through group chat
He called her a ‘f**king b***h’ on their honeymoon at Myrtle Beach between Christmas and New Year, she says.
This afternoon, President Trump finally commented on the rising scandal over Rob Porter, the now-former White House staff secretary who has been accused of domestic violence by both of his ex-wives.
‘We had already been fighting. I had already seen more extreme versions of the overreactions of anger that I had seen back in August,’ which was before they were married.
Willoughby continued: ‘I can’t remember what triggered it. He lashed out and was really angry, and both under his breath and explicitly to me called me a ”f***ing b***h” and ”f***ing ridiculous”. He accused me of not caring about him or not caring about his needs.
‘That whole week, or however long it was, several days, [of honeymoon] was spent with me trying not to make him upset.’
Russian nuclear scientists arrested for ‘Bitcoin mining plot’
She said: ‘I frequently would do favors for friends, like watch their dog or go pick up their daughter, and he would be angry that I would do that.
‘In the first weeks and months, his explanation for his anger was that his first marriage had been very toxic, rooted in arguments, accusations and manipulation and he was carrying over from that relationship.
‘He would say that he was so used to being treated this way by his ex-wife that he was projecting that on to me. That was the explanation.’
Newborn found abandoned with a note from mother in Tucson Airport
‘He’s very intelligent, extremely good with his words and is a lawyer by profession and is able to take words that I had said and use them in a way that it would confuse me as to what I meant,’ she told DailyMail.com in the bombshell interview.
‘He would challenge my intelligence or a statement that I had made by implying that I couldn’t have possibly come up with it on my own and that I must have been influenced by someone.
‘I would start to doubt myself. He was using words against me. It was his norm in dealing with behavior he didn’t like.’
Trump prefers oral report to reading daily intel briefing: report
Jennie said that she never saw Rob take his anger out on other people – ‘not even road rage’ – but that is was all behind closed doors.
‘That was something that was interesting to me, from a case study perspective. It does seem to be very much focused in an intimate, romantic relationship. It’s almost as though the anger that could have been placed on his father was placed on the romantic partner.’
‘Fairly soon after New Year in 2010, I started seeing a therapist and requested that Rob see a therapist because I was so distressed about his anger,’ she revealed.
‘I also had met with a bishop in the Mormon Church about his anger. It came to a head and in February or March 2010. I was so worn down and exhausted by the anger that I requested we have a separation.
‘I never received specific threats from Rob, he was just often angry and it was oppressive. I started to take on the blame and the weight of his lack of self-worth.
Donald Trump Joins With Russian Bots to Trash Mark Warner on Twitter
‘Over the course of the years of our marriage, I can think of several times where I was collapsing on the ground in tears and saying, ”just leave me alone, just stop” because the anger and the insults were too much.
Democratic Sen. Mark Warner texted with Russian oligarch lobbyist in effort to contact dossier author Christopher Steele
‘[He would say] that I was worthless, that I was a liar. This is not one instance, these are things that he might have said in a rage. That I always got my way, that I was selfish, that I didn’t care about him, about his needs. Any version of those types of statements, heard enough times, with enough force behind them are devastating.’
‘The stress of being pregnant in that marriage was hard and then the shame and depression of not being pregnant anymore was also hard,’ she said.
On June 19, 2010, she filed a protective order against Rob because he violated their separation agreement at the time, and would not leave their apartment.
Amazon tests delivery in Los Angeles, shipping shares sink
According to a complaint filed with the police, he punched the glass on the door to their home, cutting his hand in the process, at which point she called the police. He then left and following that she filed a temporary protective order.
Amazon’s newest delivery program may not be the threat to UPS and FedEx that some think
Willoughby claims that on December 22, 2010, Porter pulled her naked from the shower by the shoulders and yelled at her: ‘[It happened] just after our first anniversary….It was a glass shower door, he opened it and dragged me by my shoulders out of the shower to yell. Immediately upon seeing my reaction to that, he released me and apologized but it doesn’t take away that he was angry enough that that happened’
Shipping Shakeup? Amazon May Deliver Its Own Packages
On June 19, 2010, Jennifer filed a protective order against Rob because he violated their separation agreement and refused to leave their apartment
Amazon to Launch Delivery Service That Would Vie With FedEx, UPS
Willoughby wrote in a criminal complaint that Porter would not leave after she asked him to leave her apartment
She claims Porter punched the glass on the door to their home, cutting his hand in the process at which point she called the police
Willoughby said: ‘[It happened] just after our first anniversary. I cannot remember what the fight was about but I excused myself from the fight in a way that was typical at that time. I certainly was not meek and mild and said, ”I’m not going to fight you anymore” and stormed off and went to take a shower.
‘He was not done fighting with me. It was a glass shower door, he opened it and dragged me by my shoulders out of the shower to yell. Immediately upon seeing my reaction to that, he released me and apologized but it doesn’t take away that he was angry enough that that happened.’
The attack upset her so greatly that she refused to join his family on a Christmas vacation that they were leaving for the following day. She also asked him to leave their home.
‘He was very contrite and apologetic at that point. In all of the anger and all of the name-calling, he had never been physical with me.’
Willoughby tells DailyMail.com that Porter called her last year and demanded she take down her blog posts that referred to their marriage – she did not name him.
LL Bean, Citing Abuse, Tightens Its Generous Policy on Returns
He asked her what she had told the FBI about their relationship during her interview with the agency over his security clearance in February 2017.
‘My experience of our entire marriage was being with a man who could be both charming and romantic and fun – and even thoughtful and kind; and horribly angry and manipulative. It was the duality of both of those things existing at the same time and not necessarily knowing what in his life would trigger the anger,’ Willoughby said
At that time they talked, she claims, she spoke with his first wife Colbie and she said that they had both experienced the same abuse.
L.L.Bean – A Letter to Our Customers, Since 1912, our… | Facebook
Willoughby also received a message from his previous girlfriend, before Hicks, telling her that Rob was considering hiring a private investigator to look into her and ’employ’ a journalist to write about her.
‘My experience of our entire marriage was being with a man who could be both charming and romantic and fun – and even thoughtful and kind; and horribly angry and manipulative. It was the duality of both of those things existing at the same time and not necessarily knowing what in his life would trigger the anger.
‘Or what in his life would draw out the kindness and the chivalry. That’s a crazy-making space for a spouse to be in, that I somehow have no control over the quality of my relationship.
‘The terminology is ”walking on eggshells” – you don’t know which man is going to walk in the door. Or you don’t know what seemingly innocuous comment is going to be interpreted differently.
‘I had a friend’s daughter over to carve pumpkins for Halloween and he sulked and pouted and didn’t join us. And of course after she left, he was angry – ”why would I have someone over, why would you help her [my friend] out when she could be doing this herself?” There was no rational explanation as to why that would make him angry at that particular moment.’
National Pizza Day 2018: Where to find free and cheap pizza today
Porter is a Massachusetts-born Harvard graduate who went to the Ivy League school with presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner.
Hicks and Porter were seen smiling and laughing over drinks as they enjoyed each other’s company at Rosa Mexicano in Washington D.C., hours before they went home together
He also went to Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar and spent two years as a Mormon missionary in London.
First look: Apple’s HomePod is loud, heavy and powerful
Before being tapped to join the new administration, he had been chief of staff for veteran Utah Senator Orrin Hatch. He has also worked for Republican senators Rob Portman of Ohio and Mike Lee of Utah.
His job has been described as one of the most important in the Oval Office as he, working with Chief of Staff John Kelly, controls the information that reaches the president.
‘Porter, a little-known White House aide who has avoided getting caught up in any of the West Wing drama that has plagued the administration for the better part of seven months, serves to review everything before it makes it to the president’s desk,’ Business Insider wrote in September.
‘Given how the president has shared dubious information at times when aides have presented him with reports from less-than-credible sources, Porter’s role has an outsized importance,’ the paper added.
‘Talk to people who worked with him in the past, and they’ll repeatedly mention his intelligence, experience, and team-first attitude.’
Hope Hicks, 29, and Porter had doing their best to keep their romance under wraps when they were spotted together with friends at low-key restaurant Rosa Mexicano near downtown Washington two weeks ago.
‘Monster Hunter World’ Is The Fastest-Selling Capcom Game In History
But the moment they got in the cab to go back to Hicks’ D.C. apartment they started cuddling and kissing in the back seat.
At the end of their evening together, Hicks and Porter hailed a cab, but as soon as it took off, the pair moved from their sides of the car to the middle and began kissing
During the taxi ride the secret lovers Hicks and Porter could be seen cuddling in the back seat. One eyewitness said Porter could be seen kissing Hope’s neck
Hope exited the taxi while Rob pays for the ride before they both enter her D.C. apartment at the end of the evening
‘As soon as the taxi took off they both moved from their sides of the cab to the middle. Rob was kissing Hope’s neck all the way home,’ an eyewitness to the red-hot White House couple said.
Porter had been living with a willowy blonde political appointee, sources say before he began dating Hicks.
The woman split with Porter around Thanksgiving, a White House source tells DailyMailTV exclusively.
Senator Orrin Hatch, commented: ‘It’s incredibly discouraging to see such a vile attack on such a decent man. Shame on any publication that would print this—and shame on the politically motivated, morally bankrupt character assassins that would attempt to sully a man’s good name.
‘I know Rob. I’ve known him for years, both as a close friend and as a personal advisor. He is kind and considerate towards all. The country needs more honest, principled people like Rob Porter, which is why I hope that this cynical campaign to discredit his character ultimately fails.’
American figure skater Nathan Chen’s daring program is a formula for Olympic gold
On April 24, 2017, Jennifer Willoughby wrote a blog about her marriage, but she did not name Porter. Willoughby tells DailyMail.com that Porter called her last year and demanded she take down her blog posts.
The first time he called me a ‘f*****g bitch’ was on our honeymoon. (I found out years later he had kicked his first wife on theirs.) A month later he physically prevented me from leaving the house. Less than two months after that, I filed a protective order with the police because he punched in the glass on our front door while I was locked inside. We bought a house to make up for it. Just after our one year anniversary, he pulled me, naked and dripping, from the shower to yell at me.
Everyone loved him. People commented all the time how lucky I was. Strangers complimented him to me every time we went out. But in my home, the abuse was insidious. The threats were personal. The terror was real. And yet I stayed.
When I tried to get help, I was counseled to consider carefully how what I said might affect his career. And so I kept my mouth shut and stayed. I was told, yes, he was deeply flawed, but then again so was I. And so I worked on myself and stayed. If he was a monster all the time, perhaps it would have been easier to leave. But he could be kind and sensitive. And so I stayed. He cried and apologized. And so I stayed. He offered to get help and even went to a few counseling sessions and therapy groups. And so I stayed. He belittled my intelligence and destroyed my confidence. And so I stayed. I felt ashamed and trapped. And so I stayed. Friends and clergy didn’t believe me. And so I stayed. I was pregnant. And so I stayed. I lost the pregnancy and became depressed. And so I stayed.
Moviegoers Submit To BDSM Finale ‘Fifty Shades Freed’ In Likely $40M Weekend – Midday Box Office
Abuse is indifferent to education level, socio-economic status, race, age, or gender. And no one can ever know the dynamics of another’s relationship. My cycle continued for four more years. Afterward, I let go and welcomed the hard work of healing and forgiveness. My experience made me stronger and able to love more deeply. But my heart breaks for him. In the end, who is the real victim of his choices?
The views expressed in the contents above are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of MailOnline.
We will automatically post your comment and a link to the news story to your Facebook timeline at the same time it is posted on MailOnline. To do this we will link your MailOnline account with your Facebook account. We’ll ask you to confirm this for your first post to Facebook.