A senior White House official announced Wednesday he will resign following allegations by his two ex-wives of physical and emotional abuse.
The official, Rob Porter, served as the staff secretary and often controlled the paper flow to President Donald Trump’s desk, along with his daily schedule.
Porter also oversaw the White House’s policy implementation process and worked closely with Chief of Staff John F. Kelly to try to instill discipline in the chaotic West Wing. He often spent hours of the day with Trump and frequently traveled with him on Air Force One.
“These outrageous allegations are simply false. I took the photos given to the media nearly 15 years ago and the reality behind them is nowhere close to what is being described. I have been transparent and truthful about these vile claims, but I will not further engage publicly with a coordinated smear campaign,” Porter said in a statement. “My commitment to public service speaks for itself. I have always put duty to country first and treated others with respect. I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to have served in the Trump Administration and will seek to ensure a smooth transition when I leave the White House.”
The allegations against Porter by his ex-wives were first reported by the DailyMail.com, and senior West Wing aides spent part of Wednesday morning preparing for the fallout from his departure. Many senior officials, including Kelly, urged Porter to stay, according to White House advisers.
“He was verbally, emotionally and physically abusive, and that is why I left,” Colbie Holderness, his first wife, said in an interview with the DailyMail.com. His second wife said she filed and received an emergency protective order against Porter. The newspaper published what appeared to be a copy of the order, which included a Virginia magistrate’s signature.
The news site on Wednesday also posted pictures of Holderness with a bruised right eye, which she alleges was the result of Porter punching her during a trip to Florence in the early 2000s.
Porter told the DailyMail.com that many of the accusations were false but declined to comment further.
The White House scrambled Tuesday, after the story was first published, and Wednesday to deal with the allegations.
The White House issued statements of support late Tuesday from Kelly, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and Sen. Orrin G. Hatch, R-Utah, Porter’s previous boss in the Senate.
“Rob Porter is a man of true integrity and honor and I can’t say enough good things about him. He is a friend, a confidante and a trusted professional. I am proud to serve alongside him,” Kelly said Tuesday night, hours before pictures appeared that included one of his ex-wife’s blackened eye.