President Donald Trump on Friday praised his former staff secretary Rob Porter following allegations of domestic abuse, calling Porter a great man and said his departure is “very sad.”
In his first public comments since Porter’s resignation on Wednesday, Trump did not express any sympathy for the women Porter allegedly abused, instead pointing to Porter’s claim that “he’s innocent.”
Trump also claimed to be unaware of the abuse allegations.
“I found out about it recently and I was surprised by it,” Trump said. “We certainly wish him well. It’s obviously a very tough time for him. He did a very good job while he was in the White House.”
“We hope that he will have a wonderful career,” Trump added.
The President then focused on Porter’s denial of the allegations that he struck his two-ex-wives while they were married.
“He says he’s innocent, and I think you have to remember that,” Trump said. “He said very strongly yesterday that he’s innocent, but you’ll have to talk to him about that.”
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Trump’s comments come as chief of staff John Kelly and other top White House officials are facing questions about why they did not act to remove Porter from his position after they found out about the allegations of domestic abuse.