Top Trump aide resigns over spousal abuse allegations

Top Trump aide resigns over spousal abuse allegations

'I've been transparent and truthful about these vile claims,' staff secretary Rob Porter says

By Michael Hernandez

WASHINGTON (AA) - White House staff secretary Rob Porter is resigning from his post after two of his ex-wives accused him of abuse, he confirmed Wednesday.

Porter denies the allegations, calling them "outrageous" and "simply false" in a statement read by White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders.

"I took the photos given to the media nearly 15 years ago, and the reality behind them is nowhere close to what is being described. I've been transparent and truthful about these vile claims, but I will not further engage publicly with a coordinated smear campaign," Porter said. "My commitment to public service speaks for itself."

The allegations against Porter became public when the British news outlet, the Daily Mail, reported Porter's second ex-wife, Jennifer Willoughby, told them Porter forcibly dragged her out of the shower while she was wet and naked, calling her a "a [expletive] [expletive]" on their honeymoon. The encounter, she said, followed a verbal altercation between the two that resulted in her leaving to take a shower.

Willoughby said she was constantly on edge during their marriage because to Porter's "explosive anger."

The revelations were followed by those of Colbie Holderness, Porter's first wife, who came forward with allegations of physical and emotional abuse. She produced images she said proved Porter punched her in the face while the couple was on vacation in Italy. The image depicts Holderness with a large yellowish purple bruise around her right eye.

"We were arguing and he punched me in the face. He left visible marks when he punched me and I have pictures of that. I didn’t go the police because I was scared, I was in Italy alone and I didn’t know what to do," she said.

Holderness told the Daily Mail she and Willoughby were interviewed by the FBI as part of his security clearance process. He has not received the clearance, according to the British daily.

The White House would not confirm whether Porter had received the clearance. His departure will not be immediate in order to facilitate a smooth transition, Sanders said.

"That was a personal decision that Rob made, and one that he was not pressured to do, but one that he made on his own," she said.

Porter is currently dating Hope Hicks, who serves as Trump's communications director, according to the Daily Mail.

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