The two ex-wives of disgraced former aide Rob Porter tell CNN on Tuesday that they have not heard from anyone at the White House since they went public with stories of abuse, even as the administration insists that President Donald Trump “supports victims of domestic violence.”
On Monday, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders repeatedly told reporters that “above all, the President supports victims of domestic violence.”
Her insistence came as the White House continues to confront the fallout from Porter’s resignation last week, after two of his ex-wives publicly accused him of years of verbal, emotional and physical abuse.
Colbie Holderness and Jennie Willoughby told CNN that they have had no contact with anyone from the White House since their allegations of abuse made public last week.
Holderness, Porter’s first wife, said she was punched in the face by Porter in 2005 and shared photos of the black eye with CNN and other outlets. In an extensive interview last week, Holderness said Porter repeatedly choked her and threw her on the bed while putting his body weight on her using a limb. She revealed that she did not realize her life could be in danger until years into the marriage, when a trained counselor told her Porter’s behavior was unacceptable.
Holderness told CNN on Tuesday that she was “not surprised” that no one from the White House had contacted her.
“I think how it makes me feel is not as important as the message it sends to others,” Holderness told CNN. “Reaching out to Jennie and me would, in some small way, provide support for their assertion that that they take domestic violence seriously.”
Willoughby echoed Holderness’ sentiment.
“I am not surprised. I am disappointed,” Willoughby told CNN. “And I am concerned with how this sets a standard for what is or isn’t acceptable as society navigates how to handle domestic abuse moving forward.”
On Saturday, Trump tweeted: “Peoples lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation. Some are true and some are false. Some are old and some are new. There is no recovery for someone falsely accused - life and career are gone. Is there no such thing any longer as Due Process?”
Asked point-blank whether Trump believes Porter’s accusers on Monday, Sanders said: “The President, along with the entire administration, take domestic violence very seriously and believe all allegations need to be thoroughly investigated. And, above all, the President supports the victims of domestic violence and believes everyone should be treated fairly and with due process.”
Pressed again on whether Trump believes Holderness and Willoughby, Sanders responded: “I’m not going to go beyond that.”