The controversy over the departure of a White House staff member accused of domestic abuse deepened on Friday as U.S. president Donald Trump praised the former aide in his first public comments on the matter. I think you have to remember that.
Trump not only accepted Porter's claim of innocence but later praised him for doing "a very good job" in the White House, and offered his wishes for "a wonderful career" ahead. That clashes with the events of Tuesday night, when the White House released a statement of support for Porter from Kelly, who had initially urged his right-hand-man to remain in his post.
"Rob Porter has been effective in his role as staff secretary".
Once again, Trump managed to jump to the glowing defense of an individual accused of reprehensible actions, lamenting that Porter was going through a very tough time. "We absolutely wish him well".
Trump's comments were a sharp contrast to those of Vice President Mike Pence, who told NBC's Lester Holt on Friday "there's no tolerance in this White House and no place in America for domestic abuse".
Porter has denied the allegation.
He also stressed Mr Porter's contention that he is innocent.
White House officials said they had not been informed until Thursday about the allegations against Sorensen, who did not require top security clearance and whose background check was ongoing.
White House response to abuse claims shines light on victims' fears
White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said after the reports were published that Kelly hasn't offered his resignation . In December, the White House released a statement amid the re-airing of a number of the allegations against Trump.
The announcement came as part of a slew of promotions announced by the White House Wednesday evening.
Trump's tweet drew backlash from some on social media, including third-ranking Senate Democrat Patty Murray. "But when the staff draws scrutiny to him, he does not appreciate that", said one of the sources, speaking on condition of anonymity. Months later, word got out that adviser Steven Bannon had been charged with domestic violence and battery against his ex-wife in 1996, but he went on to serve as White House Chief Strategist for the administration. He resigned after being confronted by officials about the allegations. A source said Trump gave Shah a mild rebuke for the comment, advising him never to apologize.
And then Trump has his own checkered history with women: This is a President who has famously bragged about groping women, and he has a personal list of women-18 at last count-who have accused him of sexual misconduct. "He says it didn't happen", Trump said of Moore, who he wound up endorsing in the state's special election runoff. Mr Porter's security clearance to work in the White House had been withheld pending a decision by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which interviewed both women in January.
Former deputy staff secretary Derek Lyons has been promoted to acting staff secretary. The position put Porter in close with the president and required a security clearance.
Congressional Democrats have been trying for months to get information about the administration's security-clearance process, including the number of aides granted interim clearances because of issues uncovered in background checks by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Porter's ex-wife, Jennifer Willoughby, did an interview with Today's Savannah Guthrie on camera Friday morning and called him "verbally and emotionally abusive".