White House: Trump has confidence in Kelly as chief of staff

The White House said Tuesday that President TrumpDonald TrumpCheney challenger wins Wyoming Republican activists' straw poll We must do more to protect American Jews 6 in 10 say they would back someone other than Biden in 2024: Fox News poll MORE is standing by embattled chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE, as questions mount about Kelly's handling of domestic abuse accusations against an aide. 

Staff secretary Rob Porter resigned last week after reports emerged from his two ex-wives accusing him of physical assault.

Kelly initially defended Porter. The chief of staff has not explained why he did not cut ties with Porter after the FBI notified the White House about the allegations that turned up during his background check.


The controversy has consumed the administration and some of the president’s allies are demanding that Kelly step aside for mishandling the controversy. But White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump is sticking by him.

“The president has confidence in his chief of staff,” she said.

Kelly told The Wall Street Journal on Tuesday that he would not have handled the Porter matter differently in hindsight.

“It was all done right,” Kelly said.

But last week White House spokesman Raj Shah said it could have been handled better.

Sanders acknowledged on Tuesday that some in the White House may have made mistakes.


“We come here and do the best we can,” she said. “We're going to continue to strive for that. We're humans and we’re imperfect people, so every day we can learn from the day before and strive to do better. That's our goal, certainly within our team, and we’re going to continue to try to do everything we can to help serve the American people to the best of our ability.”

The White House is sticking by its timeline of events even after FBI Director Christopher Wray seemed to call into question the administration’s story in testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Trump has also attracted scrutiny for vociferously praising Porter after he resigned and saying that he hopes he prospers in his future endeavors.

The president has bemoaned that the accused are sometimes tried in the press and denied “due process.”

“The president takes all of these accusations very seriously,” Sanders said. “He believes in due process. Above everything else, he supports the victims of any type of violence and certainly would condemn any violence against anyone.”