Rob Porter claimed ex-wife's black eye was due to a fall: report

Rob Porter claimed ex-wife's black eye was due to a fall: report
© Greg Nash

Former White House staff secretary Rob Porter reportedly blamed his ex-wife's black eye on a fall while defending himself against abuse allegations in an off-the-record meeting with four journalists last week.

According to a Politico report on Tuesday, Porter told The New York Times's Maggie Haberman, The Washington Post's Josh Dawsey, Axios's Jonathan Swan and The Wall Street Journal's Michael Bender that his ex-wife Colbie Holderness had fallen during a vacation in Florence and bruised her eye.

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Porter resigned from his White House post on Wednesday following reports that his two ex-wives accused him of past emotional and physical violence. Holderness also shared photos of herself with a black eye that she said Porter gave her.

Porter has denied the accusations, and also reportedly told White House senior staff the same story about Holderness’s black eye. 

The White House has faced mounting scrutiny over its handling of the allegations against Porter. Reports emerged Tuesday that the White House arranged an off-the-record meeting between Porter and the four reporters after the accusations were made public.

A person familiar with the meeting told Politico that Porter confirmed to reporters his intention to resign, but that White House communications aides said that Chief of Staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE had encouraged him to stay. 

He also reportedly admitted to at least one of the accusations, that he had called his ex-wife a “f---ing bitch.”

The White House’s handling of the allegations against Porter has been at the center of controversy after it was reported that Kelly knew about the accusations early last year and did not take action.

The White House has stood by its position that a personnel investigation of Porter was still underway when he resigned, despite FBI Director Christopher Wray testifying that the FBI closed its background check of Porter last January. 

Updated at 5:10 p.m.