Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) is still in John Kelly’s corner.
Amid reports that White House chief of staff John Kelly kept Rob Porter on as staff secretary, despite knowing about allegations of domestic abuse from Porter’s ex-wives, Kennedy stood by Kelly as a “good man.” Kennedy, however, admitted that it appears Kelly made a “bad decision.”
“I think Gen. Kelly has done an extraordinary job as chief of staff to President Trump. I think he’s a good man. And sometimes good people make bad decisions. It doesn’t mean they are bad people. It means their human,” Kennedy said on CNN when asked about the reports on Kelly’s knowledge. “I’ve got full confidence in Gen. Kelly.”
Asked if he believed Kelly made a “bad decision,” Kennedy replied, “Yes,” and again stressed that it does not make Kelly a “bad person.”
Though Kennedy maintained that Kelly is a good chief of staff despite reports that he tried to keep Porter on amid domestic abuse allegations, Kennedy had harsher words for Porter himself.
“They are allegations. They appear to be the truth. If they’re not, I’ll come back and apologize. If you want to serve the public, particularly as a member of a President’s staff, I don’t care who you are, even if you are a Rhodes scholar, you can’t beat the hell out of your spouse. It’s wrong,” Kennedy said when asked about the allegations against Porter. “And if it happened — and there are serious allegations, some honestly believe that it did happen — then Mr. Porter did the right thing.”
Porter announced Wednesday that he would resign from his role as staff secretary in the White House following reports on his ex-wives’ allegations of emotional, verbal, and physical abuse. When the allegations first surfaced publicly on Tuesday, the Trump administration stood by Porter and circulated statements defending his character, including one from Kelly. The chief of staff reportedly pushed Porter to stay on despite the public allegations at first.
When more reporting surfaced Wednesday, Porter said he would resign. It was not until Wednesday night that Kelly issued a revised statement saying that he was “shocked” by the allegations and condemning domestic abuse.