WH response to abuse claims shines light on victims' fears

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Senior Trump aides, starting with White House Counsel Donald F. McGahn II, have known about the abuse allegations for months.

Trump's insensitive tweet comes after two members of his staff were pushed out this week over abuse claims made by ex-wives, all within two days of each other.

Longtime Trump friend and confidante Tom Barrack was approached about filling the job of chief of staff, according to ABC News, but said he will not take the position.

Sorensen told the Post in a text message that he stepped down because he "didn't want the White House to have to deal with this distraction". Instead, the White House released a statement from Kelly praising Porter's character.

In an interview on CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360", Willoughby said she's often asked why she stayed in a relationship with Porter if he was a "monster". It was unclear from the Post report if that was Sorensen's version of what Corbett claimed was him running over her foot. At a senior staff meeting on Friday, Kelly tried to push his own timeline concerning Porter.

That's been the stance of the White House ever since.

The White House said it heard about the claims for the first time on Thursday night when the Post approached them for comment. His first wife, Colbie Holderness, provided media outlets with a photo of her with a black eye she says Porter gave her in 2005. She wrote in a blog post that she was "embarrassed to tell anyone because I thought that this wasn't something that happened to women like me; it didn't happen in my social circles". Kelly told reporters on Friday that he was informed in November that Porter had allegations against him that were delaying his security clearance, but that he did not know the full extent until this week, MSNBC said.

Trump tells reporters at a surprise appearance Friday that former White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter did "a very good job while he was in the White House" and adds: "We wish him well". White House officials professed shock about the allegations against this smart, charming and diligent man, but the sad fact is that domestic violence is all too common.

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Rob Porter, the former White House staff secretary, resigned on Wednesday after news outlets published his ex-wives' allegations.

At a time when the #MeToo movement has arisen as a way to help demonstrate the prevalence of sexual harassment and assault against women in the workplace and beyond, Trump's comments were the latest in which he's appeared willing to offer support to men accused of sexual impropriety.

Given this president's history on women's issues - the "Access Hollywood" tape, accusations from women who say they were manhandled by Trump, his embrace of an alleged molester of teenage girls for a U.S. Senate seat - it is not particularly surprising that there was not a greater revulsion at the horror of domestic violence. "We immediately confronted the staffer, he denied the allegations and he resigned today", Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah said.

Shockingly (but not really) Kelly's initial total defense of Porter was not well received by the public, so he made a second statement that included the sentiment, "There is no place for domestic violence in our society".

"He says he's innocent and I think you have to remember that", said Trump.

"Mr. Trump once again proves he is indifferent to the fate of anyone other than himself", Rather suggested.

She also told the Post that he once grasped her by her hair while they were alone on a boat off the coast of ME and held her over the ledge, a moment she said she feared for her life.