Flake: White House saying it could have handled Porter allegations better an understatement

Sen. Jeff FlakeJeffrey (Jeff) Lane FlakeBiden nominates former Sen. Tom Udall as New Zealand ambassador Biden to nominate Jane Hartley as UK ambassador: report The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Goldman Sachs - Voting rights will be on '22, '24 ballots MORE (R-Ariz.) said on Sunday it is an "understatement" to say the White House could have handled the abuse allegations against former staff secretary Rob Porter better. 

"I think when the White House said they could have handled the situation better, that's a bit of an understatement, yes. They could have done a lot better particularly with the Rob Porter situation," Flake told NBC's Chuck Todd on "Meet the Press." 

Flake went on to say the White House's handling of the situation could affect Republicans in upcoming elections. 


"I do think if you put on a political hat, that is a big problem, certainly how we are viewed as Republicans in the next election," he said. "It's a big problem not to show any concern or empathy for the potential victims of these incidents."

The White House faced intense backlash last week after domestic misconduct allegations against Porter surfaced. 

Chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE reportedly knew for months that Porter had not obtained a full security clearance due to the allegations from two of his ex-wives.

Deputy press secretary Raj Shah said at the White House briefing on Thursday that he believed the administration could have done a better job at handling the situation. 

“We all could have done better over the last few hours, the last few days, in dealing with this … but the emerging reports were not reflective of the individual we have come to know,” Shah said. 

CNN reported that Shah's comments drew the ire of Trump. 

The president tweeted on Saturday that "lives are being shattered ... by a mere allegation."