As White House chief of staff John Kelly tells staffers that “domestic violence is abhorrent and has no place in our society,” the Washington Post reports that he knew for months about charges by two ex-wives of resigned White House staff secretary Rob Porter that he had abused them.
Chief of staff John Kelly emailed White House staffers on Thursday to condemn domestic violence amid scrutiny this week over the handling of domestic abuse allegations involving a top aide, reports the Hill. Kelly called the allegations leveled against former White House staff secretary Rob Porter “shocking and troubling.” Porter resigned on Wednesday after two ex-wives detailed years of alleged physical and emotional abuse. “While we are all processing the shocking and troubling allegations made against a former White House staffer, I want you to know that we all take matters of domestic violence seriously,” Kelly wrote to staffers, according to CNN. “Domestic violence is abhorrent and has no place in our society,” Kelly added.
The Washington Post reports that Kelly learned about domestic abuse allegations against Porter last fall but neglected to act upon them until the claims surfaced in the Daily Mail on Tuesday. Colbie Holderness and Jennifer Willoughby told The Daily Mail they experienced physical and emotional abuse during their marriages to Porter. White House counsel Donald McGahn and other West Wing officials are under increasing pressure to explain why Porter was kept in a key role in which he had access to classified information and helped determine which articles and policy proposals made it to the president’s desk while top Trump officials were aware for months of at least some of the serious allegations against him.