President Donald Trump on Wednesday ignored questions about the White House’s response to former White House senior staffer Rob Porter’s resignation last week after Porter’s two ex-wives publicly discussed domestic violence allegations against him.
“Mr. President, did your staff handle the Porter allegations properly?” a reporter asked Trump during a photo opportunity.
“Is Gen. Kelly’s job safe?” another asked, referring to White House chief of staff John Kelly, as White House staff ushered them out of the room.
Trump did not answer any questions on the subject.
According to multiple reports, White House officials knew about the allegations against Porter before they surfaced publicly last week. Since Porter’s resignation, the White House has offered various justifications for keeping him on staff.
At least one of those explanations has been contradicted by another official account. Though the White House claimed that Porter’s background check — which included interviews with both of his ex-wives — was “ongoing,” FBI Director Christopher Wray testified on Tuesday that the bureau sent the results of a completed background check to the White House in July 2017.
Kelly in particular offered a strong defense of Porter after the allegations became public. According to several reports, Kelly initially urged Porter to stay in his job, but has since told staff members to communicate — against their disbelief — that he acted immediately to terminate Porter.
Trump has neither personally addressed the scandal nor expressed sympathies to Porter’s ex-wives, though he wished Porter well last week and tweeted sympathetically about people whose lives are “shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation.”
Peoples lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation. Some are true and some are false. Some are old and some are new. There is no recovery for someone falsely accused – life and career are gone. Is there no such thing any longer as Due Process?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 10, 2018