Former White House staff secretary Rob Porter told associates that officials at the White House encouraged him to “stay and fight” rather than resign after a report detailed allegations of domestic abuse, Axios reported Sunday.
Axios said Porter has claimed he “never misrepresented anything” to White House chief of staff John Kelly, who vouched for Porter in a statement after news of the allegations broke.
CNN reported that President Donald Trump’s top aides, including Kelly, knew by last fall that Porter was having difficulty obtaining a security clearance and that his ex-wives claimed he had abused them. Kelly said in a statement on Wednesday after the Intercept published an article that included a photo provided by one of Porter’s ex-wives, Colbie Holderness, that she said was evidence of Porter hitting her.
An unnamed member of Congress told Axios that Kelly claims Porter misled him about what a Daily Mail article that first detailed the abuse allegations would say, and that Kelly pushed Porter to resign in the wake of the reports.
Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway said on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday that the President has “full faith” in Kelly and is not looking for a replacement.
Trump talked about Porter on Friday, saying he wished Porter well and mentioning Porter’s claim of innocence. In his comments, the President did not express sympathy for the alleged victims.
“He says he’s innocent, and I think you have to remember that,” Trump said.