White House aide resigns after allegations of abuse

A top White House aide is stepping down following allegations of domestic abuse by his two ex-wives. The White House press secretary read part of staff secretary Rob Porter's statement, in which he claims the allegations are "simply false."

In a pair of reports published by the Daily Mail, Porter’s two ex-wives detailed episodes of verbal and physical abuse. The Daily Mail published a copy of a protective order obtained by Porter’s second wife in 2010, and later published photographs of Porter’s first wife with a black eye she said came from Porter punching her.

“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 on Wednesday announcing his plans to leave the White House. “I have been transparent and truthful about these vile claims, but I will not further engage publicly with a coordinated smear campaign.”

A senior administration official said White House chief of staff John Kelly had been aware of the 2010 protective order, which prevented Porter from getting a full security clearance. The official said Kelly considered trying to push Porter out of his role but never did.

In a statement, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said: “Consistent with the practice of past administrations, issues related to an individual’s suitability are reviewed through a thorough and lengthy background check process,” she said. “Rob Porter has been effective in his role as Staff Secretary. The president and chief of staff have full confidence in his abilities and his performance.”

Sanders also said Porter wasn’t pressured by the White House to resign.

Porter has been dating White House communications director Hope Hicks, one of the most influential figures in the West Wing, several people familiar with their relationship say.

His last day at the White House has not yet been set, according to Sanders, who added that Porter will stay on to ensure a smooth transition to his successor.

Porter, a graduate of Harvard Law School and a Rhodes scholar, previously worked for Republican Sens. Orrin Hatch, Rob Portman and Mike Lee.

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