John Kelly says he was 'shocked' by abuse allegations against Rob Porter, but multiple news reports say the White House knew about them for months

 

  • White House chief of staff John Kelly said he was "shocked" by the sweeping allegations of domestic and emotional abuse leveled against top staffer Rob Porter.
  • Porter's two ex-wives made those allegations, which led to Porter's resignation on Wednesday.
  • Kelly had initially defended Porter, but later released a statement saying "There is no place for domestic violence in our society."
  • Multiple news reports published Wednesday night said the White House knew about the accusations for months.


White House chief of staff John Kelly said he was "shocked" to hear about the sweeping allegations of domestic and emotional abuse against top staffer Rob Porter, who resigned on Wednesday amid the fallout.

Kelly said in a statement released Wednesday night, "I was shocked by the new allegations released today against Rob Porter. There is no place for domestic violence in our society." Earlier, Kelly said Porter should "stay and fight," according to a story published by the news website, Axios. Kelly defended those remarks.

"I stand by my previous comments of the Rob Porter that I have come to know since becoming Chief of Staff, and believe every individual deserves the right to defend their reputation," Kelly said.

28 PHOTOS
Members past and present of President Trump's inner circle
See Gallery
Members past and present of President Trump's inner circle
Hope Hicks: Former White House Director of Strategic Communications
Melania Trump: Wife to President Trump and first lady of the United States
Gary Cohn: Former Director of the U.S. National Economic Council
Michael Flynn: Former National Security Advisor, no longer with the Trump administration
Ivanka Trump: First daughter and presidential adviser
Gen. John Kelly: Former Secretary of Homeland Security, current White House chief of staff
Steve Bannon: Former White House chief strategist, no longer with the Trump administration
Jared Kushner: Son-in-law and senior adviser
Kellyanne Conway: Former Trump campaign manager, current counselor to the president
Reince Priebus: Former White House chief of staff, no longer with the Trump administration
Anthony Scaramucci: Former White House communications director, no longer with the Trump administration
Sarah Huckabee Sanders: White House press secretary
Donald Trump Jr.: First son to President Trump
Sean Spicer: Former White House press secretary, soon to be no longer with the Trump administration
Jeff Sessions: U.S. attorney general
Steve Mnuchin: Secretary of Treasury
Paul Manafort: Former Trump campaign chairman
Carter Page: Former foreign policy adviser to Trump's presidential campaign
Omarosa Manigault: Former Director of communications for the Office of Public Liaison
Jason Miller: Former White House communications director, no longer with the Trump administration
Mike Dubke: Former White House communications director, no longer with the Trump administration
Stephen Miller: Trump senior policy adviser
Corey Lewandowski: Former Trump campaign manager
Eric Trump: Son to President Trump
Rex Tillerson: Former Secretary of State
Sebastian Gorka: Former deputy assistant to the president in the Trump administration, no longer in his White House role
Roger Stone: Former Trump campaign adviser, current host of Stone Cold Truth
Betsy DeVos: U.S. Education Secretary
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

White House sources cited by CNN said that rumblings of Porter's personal challenges had been circulating in the West Wing in recent weeks, and that Kelly and some top aides had known of the abuse allegations since "early fall." President Donald Trump learned of the claims this week, CNN reported.

Politico echoed the same, reporting that the White House knew of the claims against Porter "weeks and in some cases months" before they were made public.

The claims reportedly came up during interviews that Porter's ex-wives gave to the FBI as part of Porter's background check, CNN said, adding that he was having trouble obtaining a security clearance because of them.

Porter has called the accusations "outrageous" and "simply false."

Several others vigorously defended Porter after the accusations surfaced on Wednesday. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders praised Porter and said Trump and Kelly had "full confidence in his abilities and his performance." And Orrin Hatch, the Republican senator from Utah, sought to undercut the allegations as "politically motivated."

Porter could leave the White House as early as Thursday.

SEE ALSO: After ex-wives allege years of abuse, top White House staffer Rob Porter resigns

NOW WATCH: How to make America great — according to one of the three cofounders of Black Lives Matter

Read Full Story

Sign up for Breaking News by AOL to get the latest breaking news alerts and updates delivered straight to your inbox.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.