The White House Knew About Rob Porter's Abuse

[Content Note: Domestic violence; images of injuries at link.]

White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter has resigned, following reports that he had emotionally and physically abused two ex-wives. But, before he resigned, the White House was vigorously defending him — and it wasn't because they didn't know about his history; it was because they did, and didn't care.

Lachlan Markay and Asawin Suebsaeng at the Daily Beast report:
The saga began with a Daily Mail piece published on Tuesday evening that reported on allegations of routine domestic abuse by Porter's first wife, Colbie Holderness. "He was verbally, emotionally and physically abusive and that is why I left," she told the Mail... "He was angry because we weren't having sex when he wanted to have sex and he kicked me," Holderness recalled...

In a separate story, the Daily Mail reported that Porter's second wife, Jennifer Willoughby, said she was "walking on eggshells" during their marriage due to Porter's short temper.

High-ranking White House officials and other Republicans lined up to defend Porter in the face of the allegations. The Daily Mail's first story ran on-the-record remarks from chief of staff John Kelly, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, and Sen. Orrin Hatch praising Porter's character and professional reputation.
John Kelly was particularly effusive: "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." And then pictures surfaced of Porter's ex-wife, with bruises on her face.

But now we know that only informed the public of what the White House, including Kelly, already knew.

[CN: Video may autoplay at link] Kaitlan Collins, Kevin Liptak, and Dan Merica at CNN: White House Officials Knew About Porter's Abuse Allegations and Scrambled to Protect Him.
Senior aides to [Donald] Trump knew for months about allegations of domestic abuse levied against top White House staffer Rob Porter by his ex-wives, even as Porter's stock in the West Wing continued to rise, multiple sources told CNN on Wednesday.

...Porter's ex-wives detailed the allegations to the FBI over the course of a routine background check, they told CNN's MJ Lee on Wednesday. A year into the administration, Porter does not hold a security clearance.

By early fall, it was widely known among Trump's top aides — including chief of staff John Kelly — both that Porter was facing troubles in obtaining the clearance and that his ex-wives claimed he had abused them. No action was taken to remove him from the staff.

Instead, Kelly and others oversaw an elevation in Porter's standing.
Nonetheless, Kelly claimed last night to have just learned of the allegations: "In a statement released Wednesday evening, Kelly said he was 'shocked' by the 'new allegations' against Porter." And anonymous sources are leaking that "Trump himself first learned of the allegations this week."

And, in typical fashion, Mike Pence is claiming he only just learned of the allegations, but some savvy reporter is finally catchin on to Pence's babe-in-the-woods routine:

The facts are these: There was a man who abused at least two women working for the White House. The White House knew. And they promoted and defended him until public awareness of his indecency made it impossible for them to continue to defend him.

This should end John Kelly's tenure at the White House. Just for a start.

And this episode is yet another reminder to women across this nation that their president does not care about us. Not that we could ever forget.

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