Dem senator questions whether Kelly ‘covered up’ staffer’s record

Dem senator questions whether Kelly ‘covered up’ staffer’s record
© Getty Images

A Democratic senator on Thursday questioned White House chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE's handling of allegations of domestic abuse against a senior aide who resigned this week.

In a tweet, Sen. Martin HeinrichMartin Trevor HeinrichThe Hill's Morning Report — GOP seeks to hold Trump’s gains in Midwest states Gary Johnson launches New Mexico Senate bid Hillicon Valley: 'QAnon' conspiracy theory jumps to primetime | Senate Intel broadens look into social media manipulation | Senate rejects push for more election security funds | Reddit reveals hack MORE (D-N.M.) said that President TrumpDonald John TrumpWhite House counsel called Trump 'King Kong' behind his back: report Trump stays out of Arizona's ugly and costly GOP fight Trump claims he instructed White House counsel to cooperate with Mueller MORE's chief of staff needed to resign if he "covered up" allegations of domestic abuse against Rob Porter, the White House staff secretary who resigned on Wednesday.

"If it is true that President Trump’s Chief of Staff John Kelly covered up Staff Secretary Rob Porter’s record of domestic violence then he should resign immediately," Heinrich wrote.

Porter resigned a day after two ex-wives, Colbie Holderness and Jennifer Willoughby, told The Daily Mail they experienced physical and emotional abuse at Porter's hands years ago, before he joined the Trump administration.


The aide denied any wrongdoing in a statement, calling the allegations "false" after photos of his first wife's bruised face emerged online.

“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,” Porter said in a statement announcing his departure.

Heinrich's comments mirror those from fellow Democrat Rep. Don Beyer (Va.), who called Kelly's judgement "appalling" and remarked that he would fire the chief of staff were he in Trump's position.

"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," Beyer tweeted. "John Kelly’s judgment is appalling."

White House spokesman Raj Shah refused to comment during a press conference Thursday as to when Kelly became aware of the allegations against Porter, including whether he knew about them before the Mail's report.