Flake: 'Huge Drawback' if Trump Lacks Concern for Abuse Victims

John Kelly who has faced criticism for initially defending Porter earlier this week was told in October that Porter had physically abused his two ex-wives

John Kelly who has faced criticism for initially defending Porter earlier this week was told in October that Porter had physically abused his two ex-wives

White House budget director Mick Mulvaney on Sunday called reports about Chief of Staff John Kelly's departure "much ado about nothing" and denied President Trump approached him to replace the retired Marine general.

"I spoke with the President last night about this very issue, and he wanted me to reemphasize to everyone.that he has full confidence in his current chief of staff John Kelly, and that he is not actively searching for replacements", Conway said Sunday on ABC's "This Week".

Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway (left) said she wasn't anxious about White House Communications Director Hope Hicks (right), who was dating Staff Secretary Rob Porter when the abuse allegations came out. "But John Kelly has not offered his resignation", Short said.

Well, since McEnany brought it up, when Savannah Guthrie first broke the news of Lauer's firing and reacted to the complaint against him, in addition to talking about Lauer she also said she's heartbroken "for the courageous colleague who came forward to tell her story and any other women who have their own stories to tell".

The chief of staff added that the decision was made before photos of one of Porter's ex-wives with a black eye were published.

It's not clear whether Kelly was aware of the specifics of what Porter's ex-spouses reported to the Federal Bureau of Investigation regarding his alleged patterns of abuse. By the time the president was fully briefed of the claims against Porter on Wednesday, the once-rising White House star had already resigned, according to the official. No action was taken to remove him from the staff, and instead, Kelly and others oversaw an elevation in Porter's standing.

The President himself has also been the subject of allegations of sexual harassment by several women.

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"It's obviously a tough time for him", the president said. "His pathetic defense of staff secretary Rob Porter reveals his true nature - an enabler of sexual abusers, a betrayer of trust and an avoider of responsibility".

The claims were revealed on Tuesday amid questions that the White House was aware of the accusations for months because Porter was unable to get a security clearance after an Federal Bureau of Investigation background check uncovered a restraining order against him. In Thursday's briefing, Shah outlined the background check procedure, which is run by the federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies and was still underway for Porter. And the official stressed that the Federal Bureau of Investigation had at no point revoked Porter's interim security clearance.

'In this case, you have contemporaneous police reports, you have women speaking to the Federal Bureau of Investigation under threat of perjury. you have photographs, and when you look at all of that pulled together, Rob Porter did the right thing by resigning, ' Conway said of the evidence of the abuse.

Porter's ex-wives detailed the allegations to the Federal Bureau of Investigation over the course of a routine background check, they told CNN. One of them, Jennifer Willoughby, posted about it in detail on Instagram in April 2017 and wrote of Porter that "When I tried to get help, I was counseled to consider carefully how what I said might affect his career". "You matter. You are enough".

Trump is known to frequently poll his advisers about the performance of senior staff and is often reluctant to actually fire aides. "As long as Donald Trump is our president, our government is best served if John Kelly is in the job of chief of staff", he said on CNN's "State of the Union".

But that semblance of confidence has been eroded.

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