Top aides to Donald Trump were aware that White House staffer Rob Porter is an alleged domestic abuser, but they tried to cover it up and even encourage him to stay.
According to CNN, “Allegations of domestic abuse levied against top White House staffer Rob Porter by his ex-wives were known among senior aides to President Donald Trump for months, even as his stock in the West Wing continued to rise.”
Of course, Porter resigned on Wednesday, but he continued to deny the allegations made by both of his ex-wives who claim that “consistent abuse” is what led to their divorces. The administration continues to stand by him.
CNN also noted: “A scramble ensued inside the West Wing to defend him when the claims became public this week, the sources said. That effort continues even after his resignation.”
Central to the effort to conceal and ignore the disturbing allegations was White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, who continued to expand Porter’s role in the White House despite knowing about the credible accusations.
More from the report:
By early fall, it was widely known among Trump’s top aides — including chief of staff John Kelly — both that Porter was facing troubles in obtaining the clearance and that his ex-wives claimed he had abused them. No action was taken to remove him from the staff.
Instead, Kelly and others oversaw an elevation in Porter’s standing. He was one of a handful of aides who helped draft last week’s State of the Union address. He traveled instead of Kelly to the World Economic Forum in Davos last month. And he was one of a select group of aides who shook Chinese President Xi Jinping’s hand during a state visit to Beijing in November.
The White House declined to comment on Wednesday when asked about Kelly’s knowledge of the allegations against Porter.
Kelly’s refusal to act – even encouraging Porter to stay – when knowing about the allegations has already led some to call for his removal.
Democrat Rep. Don Beyer said the incident proves that “John Kelly’s judgment is appalling.” The Democrat suggested that Trump should fire his chief of staff for shielding Porter.
If I found out my Chief of Staff was aware of convincing allegations that a subordinate engaged in repeated domestic abuse, and acted to shield them or keep them on my team, I would fire my Chief of Staff.
John Kelly’s judgment is appalling. https://t.co/IvMH5b22jT
— Rep. Don Beyer (@RepDonBeyer) February 7, 2018
Some in the administration are even questioning Kelly’s leadership, with a few reportedly saying his decision to keep Porter around is “beyond disbelief.”
According to a new report in Vanity Fair, “He was supposed to be the West Wing’s resident grown-up, but staffers are increasingly questioning Kelly’s judgment.”
In a White House led by Donald Trump, who has shown little regard for women throughout his own life, it’s no surprise that this is the culture of the West Wing.