The White House staff secretary has resigned after two of his ex-wives shared their stories of his violent abuse.
Rob Porter resigned from his position on Wednesday despite denying the allegations.
Colbie Holderness, a senior analyst for the U.S. government, described her five-year marriage to Porter filled with physical and mental abuse to the U.K. Daily Mail.
“I was his first wife and it wasn’t until there was a second wife and then a long-term girlfriend reaching out to me, who was experiencing some weird things. I started to realize that he keeps getting away with it,” she said. “It’s a pattern now, it hasn’t gone away.”
The couple met at a Mormon church in 2000 while she studied at Wellesley College and Porter was at Harvard.
“He was never physical with me while we were dating and now I see there were red flags, left and right,” Holderness said. “He was verbally abusive and emotionally abusive all during that time, which I understand now, and we were fighting a lot.”
She described how he would belittle her about her weight and sexiness, and compare her to other women. Porter did not physically abuse her until their honeymoon in the Canary Islands.
“He was angry because we weren’t having sex when he wanted to have sex and he kicked me,” she said. “I didn’t do anything and it continued.”
In another incident in Italy, Porter punched her in the face.
“He left visible marks when he punched me and I have pictures of that,” Holderness said. “I didn’t go to the police because I was scared, I was in Italy alone and I didn’t know what to do.”
Jennifer Willoughby, Porter’s second wife, said that she felt like she was “walking on eggshells” during their four-year marriage.
She claimed that on Dec. 22, 2010, “Porter pulled her naked from the shower by the shoulders and yelled at her,” the Daily Mail reported.
Porter also allegedly verbally abused Willoughby: “(He would say) that I was worthless, that I was a liar. This is not one instance, these are things that he might have said in rage. That I always got my way, that I was selfish, that I didn’t care about him, about his needs. Any version of these types of statements, heard enough times, with enough force behind them are devastating.”
Despite the abuse, Willoughby believed that Porter was capable of his staff secretary role.
“I want to be very clear when I say this,” Willoughby said. “I don’t want to be married to him. I would not recommend anyone to date him or marry him. But I definitely want him in the White House and the position he is in. I think his integrity and ability to do his job is impeccable. And the majority of the issues he suffers from are very personal and intimate.”
Porter, who is reportedly dating White House Communication director Hope Hicks, has denied the accusations by his ex-wives.
“These outrageous allegations are simply false. I took the photos to the media nearly 15 years ago and the reality behind them is nowhere close to what is being described,” he said. “My commitment to public service speaks for itself. I have always put duty to country first and treated others with respect. I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to have served in the Trump Administration and will seek to ensure a smooth transition when I leave the White House.”
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a media conference Wednesday that “Rob has been an effective in his role as staff secretary.”
Chief of Staff John Kelly added, “Rob Porter is a man of true integrity and honor and I can’t say enough good things about him. He is a friend, a confidante and a trusted professional. I am proud to serve alongside him.”
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