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Rob Porter: Trump praises ex-aide accused of domestic abuse

February 9, 2018 4:48 pm

US President Donald Trump has paid tribute to an ex-aide who quit this week amid domestic abuse allegations.

We wish him well," he said in his first public remarks on the claims against ex-White House staff secretary Rob Porter. “He worked very hard.”

His comments come a day after a White House spokesman said they could have better handled the accusations.

It is alleged Mr Porter, 40, gave one ex-wife a black eye while another filed a restraining order. He denies it.

Despite the allegations, he received interim security clearance to act as gatekeeper to the US president. Mr Porter resigned on Wednesday.

Speaking in the Oval Office on Friday, Mr Trump said: "We found out about it recently and I was surprised by it, but we certainly wish him well and it’s a tough time for him.

“He did a very good job while when he was in the White House.

“And we hope he has a wonderful career and he will have a great career ahead of him.

“But it was very sad when we heard about it and certainly he’s also very sad now.

“He also, as you probably know, says he’s innocent and I think you have to remember that.”

But US Vice-President Mike Pence condemned Mr Porter, saying he was “appalled” by his alleged behaviour.

“There’s no tolerance in this White House, no place in America for domestic abuse,” he told NBC.

Mr Porter’s ex-wives, Colbie Holderness and Jennifer Willoughby, both accuse him of physical and emotional abuse.

His first spouse, US government analyst Ms Holderness, said he had kicked her on their 2003 honeymoon in the Canary Islands and punched her in the face on holiday a couple of years later in Florence, Italy.

Ms Willoughby says she was married to Mr Porter from 2009-13. The motivational speaker says she obtained a protective order against him in June 2010 after he punched the glass of the door at their Alexandria, Virginia, home.

Without naming him, she wrote about her experiences in a blog post entitled Why I Stayed.