President Trump said that he wishes former White House staff secretary Rob Porter well, that he’s going through a “tough time,” and that he hopes he “will have a great career ahead of him” — two days after the top official announced his resignation after his two ex-wives accused him of domestic violence.
“We wish him well, he worked very hard,” Trump told reporters Friday afternoon. “We found out about it recently and I was surprised by it, but we certainly wish him well, and it’s a tough time for him. He did a very good job when he was in the White House. And we hope he has a wonderful career, and he will have a great career ahead of him.
“It was very said when we heard about it, and certainly he’s also very sad,” Trump continued. “Now he also, as you probably know, he says he’s innocent. And I think you have to remember that. He said very strongly yesterday that he’s innocent. So you’ll have to talk to him about that. But we absolutely wish him well, he did a very good job while he was at the White House.”
Trump’s comments about Porter are yet another instance of the White House defending someone credibly accused of abusing women. The evidence against Porter includes a photograph of his first wife, Colbie Holderness, with a black eye she says Porter gave her and an order of protection his second wife, Jennifer Willoughby, sought in a Virginia court.
Holderness says Porter kicked her, choked her, and threw her down when angry with her. Willoughby told the Daily Mail that when she was taking a shower after an argument, Porter dragged her out of the shower by the shoulders to continue yelling at her.
The Washington Post reported Thursday that White House counsel Don McGahn had known about the allegations against Porter for a year, and that chief of staff John Kelly had known for months, although the Daily Mail reported that Trump did not know about them until this week.