Kelly 'shocked' by abuse allegations against top White House aide

Kelly 'shocked' by abuse allegations against top White House aide
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White House chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE said in a new statement he was “shocked” by allegations of domestic abuse leveled against staff secretary Rob Porter after Porter announced his resignation earlier Wednesday.

"I was shocked by the new allegations released today against Rob Porter. There is no place for domestic violence in our society,” Kelly said in the statement.

“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,” he continued. “I accepted his resignation earlier today, and will ensure a swift and orderly transition."

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Porter announced Wednesday that he would resign from his White House role after being accused of abusing his two ex-wives. Colbie Holderness and Jennifer Willoughby have alleged that the aide was physically and emotionally abusive. Holderness provided photos of injuries including a black eye.

Kelly and White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders both issued statements of support for Porter after the initial reports of the abuse allegations surfaced Tuesday night. Kelly called him “a man of true integrity and honor.” 

The White House announced Porter's resignation on Wednesday, but Porter denied the allegations.

“These outrageous allegations are simply false. 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. I have been transparent and truthful about these vile claims, but I will not further engage publicly with a coordinated smear campaign,” he said in a statement.

Sanders told reporters that Porter's exit would not be "immediate" so he could assist with his replacement’s transition.

“Rob has been effective in his role as staff secretary, and the president and chief of staff have had full confidence and trust in his abilities and his performance,” Sanders said.

Porter was a top aide to Kelly in the White House and was responsible for the paper flow to President TrumpDonald John TrumpSasse: Trump shouldn't dignify Putin with Helsinki summit Top LGBT group projects message onto Presidential Palace in Helsinki ahead of Trump-Putin summit Hillary Clinton to Trump ahead of Putin summit: 'Do you know which team you play for?' MORE’s desk in the West Wing.

CBS News reported Wednesday that the allegations against Porter prevented him from obtaining a full security clearance. Multiple people in the White House were aware of the allegations before they were reported by media, according to reports.

"As has always been our policy, we do not comment on security clearances," Sanders said in a statement.