White House: Porter situation could have been handled better

White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter who is stepping down following allegations of domestic abuse by his two ex-wives. | AP
White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter who is stepping down following allegations of domestic abuse by his two ex-wives. | AP
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09 February, 2018

Following White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter's resignation Wednesday, questions loom about his ex-wives' allegations of physical and mental abuse and his political career.

The LDS Church said Thursday that it has "zero tolerance" for abuse of any kind but couldn't speak directly to allegations by the ex-wives of a former White House official who reported they received no help from their Mormon clergy when they were being abused.

However, Kelly's first response to the allegations against Porter were similar to those of other men accused of harassment or abuse in the president's circle.

Shah added that the allegations are "serious and disturbing", but the spokesman also repeatedly noted that Porter denied wrongdoing.

"I have been transparent and truthful about these vile claims, but I will not further engage publicly with a coordinated smear campaign", he said in a statement. Intercept.com quoted former wife Jennifer Willoughby as saying that Porter was abusive.

Ms Holderness supplied a photo of herself with a black eye to the media.

After issuing a complimentary statement on Porter earlier on Wednesday, Kelly said in the evening that he "was shocked by the new allegations released today".

"There is no place for domestic violence in our society", he said. Kelly asked Hagin a few weeks ago to dig deeper into why there had been delays in background checks of certain key staff, including Porter.

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Kelly said he was "appalled" that Wilson - a family friend of Johnson's - criticized Trump's tone and choice of words on the call, and he accused the congresswoman of speaking "in the long tradition of empty barrels making the most noise". I think he's a good man.

As staff secretary, Porter spent a lot of time with the President, and traveled aboard Air Force One several times, including during last month's trip to the World Economic Forum in Davos.

On Thursday, deputy press secretary Raj Shah, making his debut appearance at the daily press briefing, said the White House "could have done better" in handling the situation. He was a key aide to Chief of Staff John Kelly in helping determine which articles and policy proposals were handed to Trump for his review.

"Looking at "news" websites that churn out steady stream of pathetic fealty to power ignoring important story of accusations top WH aide Rob Porter beat his two ex-wives, and WH knew about it and stood by him", Tapper wrote.

Allegations of domestic violence can be grounds for the government to deny security clearances to aspiring officials.

He formerly worked for Utah Senator Orrin Hatch, who said he was "heartbroken" by the allegations. I do not know the details of Rob's personal life.

Reports say the 76-year-old billionaire and casino mogul stepped down after a Wall Street Journal report on Friday alleged that he harassed massage therapists and forced one staff member to have s3x with him.


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