Chief of Staff Kelly's credibility vanishes with Portman debacle

US White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter resigns after domestic abuse allegations

Porter resigned from his position as a top White House staffer after his two ex-wives this week accused him of physical and emotional abuse.

Porter's first wife, Colbie Holderness, told the Daily Mail that Porter choked and punched her during the five years they were married.

According to USA media reports, Mr Porter has recently been romantically linked with White House communications director Hope Hicks.

CNN reported that following their 2003 marriage, Holderness said Porter quickly began to be abusive: "She said that Porter's repeated physically abusive behavior also included throwing her on the bed and forcefully pushing one of his limbs into her body in anger and choking her". "I thought by sharing my story with the Federal Bureau of Investigation he wouldn't be put in that post", Holderness says, explaining that she voiced concerns he could be blackmailed because of the number of people who knew about her situation. A spokesperson for Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) also said that Porter did not have a security clearance when he worked with that office from 2011 to 2013-and did not disclose his protective order. "I just think that we do take allegations of misconduct, of domestic violence, other issues like that, very seriously".

John Kelly also issued a statement that he has accepted Porter's resignation but also said that he deserves an opportunity of being heard.

United States media have reported that Mr Kelly and other White House officials had been aware for several months that the claims were keeping the White House staff secretary from obtaining security clearance.

Asked why Kelly initially backed Porter before later saying he was "shocked", Shah said that Kelly at first was not "fully aware" of the abuse claims made by Porter's ex-wives.

He did not directly address whether the White House regrets Porter was hired under the circumstances. Porter said in a statement.

After White House staff secretary Rob Porter resigned yesterday (Feb. 7) following reports of domestic abuse accusations, an old Reuters photo of White House personnel reminds us how suddenly those in Donald Trump's close orbit can leave it. "He is a friend, a confidante and a trusted professional".

White House Communications Director Hope Hicks in the Oval Office on February 2, 2018.

Kelly called Porter "a man of true integrity and honor". "I am proud to serve alongside him", Kelly said in a statement sent out earlier Wednesday.

Several White House aides said Wednesday that Kelly's statement was a mistake.

Mr Porter, 40, has, however, denied the allegations.

The White House Thursday admitted a security clearance investigation on Portman was still underway and he was working with an interim clearance.

Kelly assigned Porter to help bring order to the West Wing by ensuring that no staff memos, policy documents, correspondence or news articles reach Trump's desk without careful inspection. He nearly always accompanied the president when he traveled, and frequently could be seen near Trump as he boarded Marine One and Air Force One. As an assistant to the president, Porter was paid the top White House staff salary of $179,000.

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