WASHINGTON, D.C. — Senior White House official Rob Porter resigned Wednesday after two ex-wives came forward to claim he had abused them during the course of their marriage.
“These outrageous allegations are simply false,” Porter said in a statement prior to announcing his resignation. “I have been transparent and truthful about these vile claims, but I will not further engage publicly with a coordinated smear campaign.”
According to a White House spokesperson, Porter’s resignation comes despite objections from White House chief-of-staff John Kelly.
“Rob Porter is a man of true integrity and honor and I can’t say enough good things about him. He is a friend, a confidante and a trusted professional. I am proud to serve alongside him,” Kelly said in a statement following Porter’s announcement.
Porter’s decision to step down follows a report published by The Daily Mail (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5359731/Ex-wife-Rob-Porter-Trumps-secretary-tells-marriage.html), in which his first wife, Colbie Holderness, claimed her ex-husband punched in her the face during a trip to Florence in the early 2000s.
“He was verbally, emotionally and physically abusive, and that is why I left,” Holderness, who also provided the publication with photos of her with a swollen, black eye, said of Porter.
Porter denied his ex-wife’s claims, saying the photos Holderness had provided were taken out of context.
“I took the photos given to the media nearly 15 years ago and the reality behind them is nowhere close to what is being described,” he said.
Another of Porter’s ex-wives, Jennifer Willoughby, claimed in an application for a restraining order that Porter “punched in the glass” of her home and refused to leave until she called police. “I called the police, afraid he would break in . . . When he heard me give my name and address to the 9-1-1 dispatcher, he drove off,” she wrote.
In his statement, Porter said he believes his reputation speaks for itself.
“My commitment to public service speaks for itself. I have always put duty to country first and treated others with respect,” the press release reads. “I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to have served in the Trump Administration and will seek to ensure a smooth transition when I leave the White House.”
It remains unclear when Porter will officially vacate his role.
Asked Wednesday if the president will be addressing the allegations against Porter, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders replied: “I don’t know.”