June 21, 2018

White House response to abuse shines light on fears

11 February 2018, 09:26 | Taylor George

White House response to abuse shines light on fears

White House response to abuse shines light on fears

Conway also delivered what she said was a vote of confidence from Trump for chief of staff John Kelly, who has come under fire for his handling of the Porter matter.

"He says he's innocent, and I think you have to remember that", said Trump.

His resignation comes two days after the departure of Rob Porter, who left amid accusations from two ex-wives that he had abused them. A spokesman confirmed that a second White House staff member, David Sorensen, a speechwriter, had resigned over allegations by his former wife that he had abused her during their marriage.

Kelly, who had worked closely with Porter for several months, at first issued a statement supporting Porter as a man of "true integrity".

"Hope is absolutely fantastic", Trump said in a statement to The New York Times released through a spokesperson Friday. Sorensen said he is innocent but was leaving to avoid bringing controversy on the White House. "He says it didn't happen", Trump said of Moore, who he wound up endorsing in the state's special election runoff.

"In any major corporation in America", writes Axios, "Porter would have been escorted out the door the minute senior officials learned of these allegations".

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The Washington Post reported on Friday that Sorensen's former wife claimed he was violent and emotionally abusive during their two-and-a-half-year marriage, accusations that he denied, saying that she had in fact victimised him.

Sorensen told the Post in a text message that he stepped down because he "didn't want the White House to have to deal with this distraction". Hicks has become one of Trump's closest confidants, and while the president has groused about her involvement in the Porter flareup, he had not suggested ousting her, according to the two people familiar with his private discussions. The women also reportedly said they had told FBI investigators about the abuse during Porter's security clearance.

In an interview in The Washington Post, which first reported the allegations against Sorensen and his resignation, his former wife, Jessica Corbett, detailed a volatile 2 ½-year marriage in which Sorensen ran over her foot while driving a vehicle and put out a lit cigarette on her hand. "He did a very good job when he was in the White House and hopefully he will have a great career ahead of him", Trump said. "But when the staff draws scrutiny to him, he does not appreciate that", said one of the sources, speaking on condition of anonymity. One of the ex-wives offered pictures of a black eye as proof.

The official said White House counsel Don McGahn was apprised of at least some of the accusations about Porter at least four times, including as early as January 2017.

Trump could have (and likely should have) stopped there, but during some undoubtedly well-earned executive time on Saturday morning, the president took to Twitter to double down on his sentiments. "The timing and absurdity of these false claims speaks volumes and the publicity tour that has begun only further confirms the political motives behind them". He denied the allegations as a "smear campaign", and Kelly continued to voice support for him. Casino mogul Steve Wynn, a prominent Republican donor and Trump friend, is among the latest powerful men to lose their jobs over such allegations.

Trump praised his former aide's work ethic and expressed sadness that he had to leave his post. Trump named Derek Lyons acting staff secretary to replace Porter.

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