Donald Trump

Top Trump aide Rob Porter, accused of domestic violence by two ex-wives, quits White House

Staff secretary Porter is accused of punching, choking and ‘dehumanising’ his two former spouses

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 08 February, 2018, 4:27am
UPDATED : Thursday, 08 February, 2018, 10:25pm

White House staff secretary Rob Porter – a near-constant fixture at President Donald Trump’s side – has resigned from his post, after two ex-wives publicly accused him of domestic abuse.

The White House said Porter denied the allegations and retains the confidence of Trump and his chief of staff John Kelly, but would be leaving his post at an undetermined time.

His resignation comes after reports in The Daily Mail and The Intercept, in which Porter’s ex-wives Colbie Holderness and Jennifer Willoughby documented alleged physical and psychological abuse.

Photos showed Holderness with a badly bruised eye, which she claimed was the result of a punch from Porter.

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It was scary, humiliating, and dehumanising
Colbie Holderness, on allegedly being choked by Porter

Porter’s former spouses recounted physical, verbal and emotional abuse they say he subjected them to during their marriages.

His first wife, Holderness, told The Daily Mail that he was “verbally, emotionally and physically abusive” and that was what made her leave him.

At one point, she said, he choked her. “It was not hard enough for me to pass out, but it was scary, humiliating, and dehumanising,” she said.

Second wife Jennifer Willoughby said Porter called her a “f***ing b***h” on their honeymoon after engaging in a verbal fight, and that he once punched a glass door in a rage.

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“Over the course of the years of our marriage, I can think of several times where I was collapsing on the ground in tears and saying, ‘Just leave me alone, just stop’ because the anger and the insults were too much,” she said.

The Daily Mail had recently suggested Porter was in a relationship with Trump’s communications adviser Hope Hicks.

Porter’s title understates his significance in the White House. He served as a clearinghouse for paperwork coming in or out of the Oval Office, and he was an important influence on policy in his own right. Few aides enjoyed greater access to the Oval Office, or spent more time in the president’s company. He also played a vital role in helping Kelly try to bring order to the White House.

He said in a statement that the allegations are “outrageous” and “simply false”. He said photos published were taken nearly 15 years ago and the “reality behind them is nowhere close to what is being described”. 

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He also said that he has been transparent and truthful, but will leave the White House after a transition period.

“The President and chief of staff have had full confidence and trust in his abilities and his performance,” said press secretary Sarah Sanders Wednesday.

She then read Porter’s statement: “I’ve been transparent and truthful about these vile claims, but I will not further engage publicly with a coordinated smear campaign.”

Agence France-Presse, Associated Press, Bloomberg