White House chief of staff John Kelly expressed to President Donald Trump that he is willing to resign over his handling of domestic abuse allegations against former staff secretary Rob Porter, a scandal which has overtaken the White House in just two days, ABC News reported on Friday.
CNN reported that White House spokesman J. Hogan Gidley pushed back on the story and said that Kelly has not offered his resignation, though the ABC News report only addressed Kelly’s willingness to do so.
ABC News reported, citing unnamed sources who have spoken to Trump and Kelly, that Kelly told Trump in the last 24 hours that he is willing to step down over the ongoing situation. Unnamed sources familiar with the matter told ABC News that Kelly’s departure does not appear imminent, however.
Longtime Trump friend and confidante Tom Barrack was approached about filling the job of chief of staff, according to ABC News, but said he will not take the position.
Since the allegations against Porter first surfaced on Tuesday, Kelly has offered wildly differing responses and has become a center of attention: He first defended Porter as “a man of true integrity and honor,” and reportedly urged Porter to stay in his job, then claimed to be “shocked by the allegations.”
According to several reports, however, Kelly learned about the allegations against Porter last fall, and became aware several weeks ago that Porter could not obtain a full security clearance because one of his ex-wives had obtained a protective order against him in 2010.
On Friday morning, according to the Washington Post, Kelly told senior staffers to push a more flattering account of his response to the allegations, though staff members expressed disbelief in the narrative Kelly instructed them to communicate.