White House aide resigns after allegations of domestic violence
A top aide to President Trump resigned Wednesday following allegations of domestic violence from his two ex-wives — but maintained their “vile” claims were merely “a coordinated smear campaign.”
White House staff secretary Rob Porter’s exes, Colbie Holderness and Jennifer Willoughby, both went on the record with the Daily Mail in recent days — with Holderness revealing photos of a black eye she says he gave her in 2005.
In a statement on his resignation, Porter, 40, claimed the reality of the images is “nowhere close to what is being described.”
“These outrageous allegations are simply false,” he said. “I have been transparent and truthful about these vile claims, but I will not further engage publicly with a coordinated smear campaign.”
Holderness, 37, Porter’s first wife, claims he choked and punched her during their five-year marriage.
“He would throw me down on the bed, then put his full body weight on top of me, then grind a knee or elbow into my body, expressing rage,” she told the Mail.
Willoughby says he was verbally abusive and once pulled her naked from the shower. She says she filed a protective order against Porter after he locked her inside their house and punched in the glass on the front door.
Both women say they told the FBI about Porter’s alleged abuse during interviews for his White House background check last year. Sources told the Mail that the agency had denied him security clearance due to his “dark past.”
White House officials stood by Porter after the publication of the allegations and graphic photos — with chief of staff John Kelly, White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee and Porter’s former boss Sen. Orrin Hatch all offering glowing character references.
“It’s incredibly discouraging to see such a vile attack on such a decent man,” Hatch told the Mail. “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.”
Kelly and others had urged him to “stay and fight” instead of resigning, Axios reports.
In a press briefing Wednesday afternoon, Huckabee said he was not pressured to quit and that she didn’t know if Trump had seen the photos of Holderness’ black eye. She said she wouldn’t discuss security clearances “one way or the other.”