Former White House staff secretary Rob Porter told senior staffers in the White House that two of the alleged domestic abuse incidents described by his ex-wives were not as bad as the women made them out to be, ABC News reported Thursday evening, citing two sources with knowledge of Porter’s account.
Porter’s second wife, Jennifer Willoughby, sought a protective order against Porter in 2010 while the two were separating. She accused Porter of trying to break into her house by punching a glass door.
Porter told White House aides that it was an accident, per ABC News. Porter said he was tapping the door with his index finger when his knuckle went through the door, according to ABC News.
He also downplayed an incident that led to his first wife, Colbie Holderness, getting a black eye during a trip to Italy in 2005. Holderness accused Porter of punching her in the face during the incident. Porter told senior White House aides that he and Holderness were arguing over a glass vase, and that Holderness was poised to drop and break the glass vase, according to ABC News’ report. Both lunged for the vase, and Holderness fell and bruised her eye, Porter told White House staff, per ABC News.
The Washington Post previously reported that Porter told colleagues that Holderness was somehow hit in the face with the vase when they two were arguing over it.
Porter has denied the allegations against him.
Porter resigned from the White House last week after his ex-wives accused him of verbal and physical abuse in several news articles. The Trump administration has come under scrutiny for how it handled the revelations about Porter’s past. Some reports indicate that top officials, including chief of staff John Kelly and counsel Don McGahn, knew about the allegations before they became public. However, Kelly has told White House staff that he moved to fire Porter shortly after he learned the full extent of the allegations.
White House officials have since complained that Porter misled them by downplaying his ex-wives allegations and denying wrongdoing.