Trump’s comments set off a firestorm at a time of national conversation about the mistreatment of women.
But, there’s a simple reason to explain it all: Kelly liked Porter personally and saw Porter as someone who could help him bring a level of order to the White House.
And in the Oval Office on Friday, President Trump expressed how he was “very sad” about the allegations.
This is not the first time that the president has continued to embrace men close to him who have been accused of assault. He misunderstood what the Democrats had said during their meeting, to which Donald Trump got understandably pissed off because John Kelly basically said the president wasn’t smart enough to understand what happens, “Just leave it to me, I’ll take care of everything”.
Kelly, who reportedly had urged Porter to stay on as Trump’s staff secretary even after those pictures of Holderness were published, on Thursday night sought to reassure White House staff with a statement that said “domestic violence is abhorrent and has no place in our society”.
– Rep. Nydia Velazquez (@NydiaVelazquez) February 9, [email protected] shows ZERO sympathy for the multiple women Rob Porter is accused of abusing.
Chief of Staff John Kelly was aware of the allegations and also praised Porter’s conduct in the White House, maintaining that “every individual deserves the right to defend their reputation”. Sorensen worked for the Council on Environmental Quality, which is part of the Executive Office of the President.
It’s not clear whether Kelly was aware of the specifics of what Porter’s ex-spouses reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation regarding his alleged patterns of abuse. But Porter remained in his role, delivering all manner of information straight to the president’s desk until he resigned this week.
But US Vice-President Mike Pence condemned Mr Porter, saying he was “appalled” by his alleged behaviour. “And literally that was it”.
Trump was so infuriated by the ordeal he even phoned Reince Priebus, the previous chief of staff who was ousted after he also attracted Trump’s ire, to vent about Kelly, The New York Times reported.
Trump tells reporters he was surprised by the abuse allegations and called the news “very sad”.
Though Trump frequently vents about senior aides, he is often loath to fire staffers.
But there was no sign that a move was imminent, according to the people with knowledge of the conversations.
Hicks was present as Trump made the controversial remarks.
While the source said there was no indication on Friday that Trump would ask Kelly to resign over the matter, another source told CNN’s Gloria Borger that Trump has been asking friends and associates over the phone about various potential replacements for the chief of staff position.
The White House was also put on the defensive about Porter’s interim security clearance, fielding questions about how someone could handle some of the nation’s most sensitive documents while potentially being ripe for blackmail.