President Trump’s chief of staff John Kelly has instructed senior White House staff to say that he took “immediate and direct action” after learning that the allegations of domestic abuse against staff secretary Rob Porter were credible, The Washington Post reports.
Kelly told the senior staff to relay what he said on Friday to subordinate staff and that he cares about combatting domestic violence, The Post revealed Friday.
Aides told the Post they are concerned because Kelly’s account is untrue and contradicts past statement on the matter from White House officials.
One of Porter’s two ex-wives revealed to the Daily Mail that she went through physical and emotional abuse when she was married to Porter.
John Kelly and White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended Porter in the Daily Mail story. Kelly called him “a man of true integrity and honor.”
But after that story was published, The Intercept published its own story on Porter in which a second ex-wife, Colbie Holderness, also alleged abuse. The story featured a picture of Holderness with a bruised eye that she said she suffered when Porter hit her in 2005.
Kelly issued a statement on Wednesday saying he was shocked by the new allegations
“I was shocked by the new allegations released today against Rob Porter. There is no place for domestic violence in our society,” he said in a statement.
However, multiple reports Thursday stated that Kelly knew of the accusations against Porter for months, but took no action. The Washington Post reported on Thursday that White House counsel Don McGahn had first informed Kelly of the abuse allegations against Porter last fall.
The abuse allegations prevented Porter from receiving a full security clearance. Multiple people in the White House were aware of the allegations before they were reported by media, according to several reports.