The ex-wives of Rob Porter, a White House aide who recently resigned over domestic abuse allegations, say they have received letters of apology from Porter’s old boss, Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, who previously defended his former staffer as a “decent man.”
“It was a sincere apology for pain he may have caused us,” Jennie Willoughby, Porter’s second ex-wife, told CNN.
The Daily Mail first published allegations of physical and mental abuse from his ex-wives, and included a statement from Hatch vigorously defending Porter, saying “it’s incredibly discouraging to see such a vile attack on such a decent man.”
At the same time, Hatch’s office blasted out a different statement that said Hatch was “heartbroken” by the allegations. Hatch still described his interactions with Porter as “professional” and “respectful,” but said “domestic violence in any form is abhorrent.”
In the letter, which was first reported by The Washington Post’s Erik Wemple on Twitter, Willoughby said Hatch “reiterated his explanation as to why his statement changed between the two Daily Mail articles.”
Willoughby declined to share the letter, but said Hatch explained that he “was unaware of the nature of the article and was under the impression political enemies were mounting an attack against Rob, which is why he released the first statement to the White House.”
Colbie Holderness, Porter’s first ex-wife, confirmed to CNN that she also received a letter from Hatch.
“I appreciate his apology,” she said.
This story has been updated.
CNN’s Ashley Killough contributed to this report.