Hatch sends apology letters to Porter’s ex-wives: report

Greg Nash

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) has reportedly sent apology letters to the ex-wives of former White House staff secretary Rob Porter, who resigned earlier this month over allegations of domestic abuse.

Hatch apologized to Jennifer Willoughby and Colbie Holderness for initially defending Porter in response to reports that the women had accused Porter of physical and emotional abuse during their marriages, according to the Washington Post’s Erik Wemple.

Hatch originally said that Porter, who is a former aide of his, is “kind and considerate towards all,” and criticized the allegations as rumors being spread by political “character assassins.”

The retiring senator also said of Porter that he would “prefer him not to resign.

After more detailed accusations against Porter were revealed — including the release of a photo showing one of his ex-wives with a black eye that she alleges was from Porter — Hatch released a statement saying that was “heartbroken” by the allegations and said “domestic violence in any form is abhorrent and unacceptable.”

“I am praying for Rob and those involved,” Hatch said at the time.

Willoughby, one of Porter’s ex-wives, told The Washington Post that the one-and-a-half-page apology letter is printed on Senate letterhead and includes a handwritten “prayer for good wishes and blessings.” {mosads}

She said that Hatch’s office has explained that the senator’s initial reaction was “based on how the situation was described to him,” and that the apology letter echoes these past explanations.

“I feel like it’s a sincere apology and having been in D.C. for upwards of 12-13 years, I feel like this is sufficient given what I know to be true,” she said.

The Hill has reached out to Hatch’s office for comment.

Porter resigned amid the reports of the accusations. The White House is under fire for how it handled the allegations against him as questions swirl over how early White House officials knew about Porter’s past. 

Many have criticized the White House, and specifically chief of staff John Kelly, for keeping Porter on staff while reportedly knowing about the allegations against him.

Tags John Kelly Orrin Hatch

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