Accused of physically beating his first wife and psychologically abusing his second wife, White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter is resigning from office while denying the allegations against him. Porter decided to resign despite the objections from White House chief of staff John Kelly and other officials.
“We were arguing and he punched me in the face,” Porter’s first ex-wife, Colbie Holderness, told The Daily Mail. “He left visible marks when he punched me and I have pictures of that. I didn’t go the police because I was scared, I was in Italy alone and I didn’t know what to do.”
According to recent media reports, Porter repeatedly struck and choked Holderness then verbally abused his second ex-wife, Jennifer Willoughby. While announcing his resignation, Porter vehemently denied the accusations of abuse.
“These outrageous allegations are simply false. I took the photos given to the media nearly 15 years ago and the reality behind them is nowhere close to what is being described,” Porter said in a statement Wednesday.
“I have been transparent and truthful about these vile claims, but I will not further engage publicly with a coordinated smear campaign.
“My commitment to public service speaks for itself. I have always put duty to country first and treated others with respect. I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to have served in the Trump Administration and will seek to ensure a smooth transition when I leave the White House.”
On Wednesday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed, “He is going to be leaving the White House. It won’t be immediate. But he is resigning from the White House but is going to stay on to ensure that there’s a smooth transition moving forward.”
In defense of Porter, White House chief of staff John Kelly stated, “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.”
On Tuesday, Sen. Orrin Hatch told The Daily 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.
“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.”
Less than 24 hours later, Hatch told reporters, “I am heartbroken by today’s allegations. In every interaction I’ve had with Rob, he has been courteous, professional, and respectful. My staff loved him and he was a trusted advisor.
“I do not know the details of Rob’s personal life. Domestic violence in any form is abhorrent and unacceptable. I am praying for Rob and those involved.”
Porter previously served as chief of staff for Sen. Hatch.
During Wednesday’s press conference, Sanders refused to discuss the matter of Porter’s security clearance and whether the White House had previous knowledge of the abuse allegations against him. Both of Porter’s ex-wives confirmed that they have spoken to the FBI about his physical and verbal abuse.