Chief of Staff John Kelly told the press Friday that he has never considered resigning from the White House over the Rob Porter scandal.
Porter, a former staff secretary, left the White House last month after reports revealed both of his ex-wives had accused him of domestic abuse. One of the women, Colbie Holderness, had a photograph of her bruised eye to prove it. Jennifer Willoughby also claimed Porter had physically abused her, even once pulling her naked from the shower.
The press demanded to know how the White House could continue to employ Porter with these accusations hanging over him. On Friday, Kelly doubled down on claims he did not know the extreme extent of the allegations.
The first accusation brought to his attention about Porter had to do with "emotional abuse," according to Kelly. With this limited context, Kelly simply thought Porter had been in a "messy divorce."
Once he heard the real story, he promptly accepted Porter's resignation.
PER JOHN KELLY:— Jennifer Jacobs (@JenniferJJacobs) March 2, 2018
At 5p: He learned from the press an ex-wife’s claim of emotional abuse. “(Porter) said it's absolutely untrue.”
6:30p-ish: Kelly, after DACA mtg on Hill, heard press inquiry about the 2nd ex-wife’s physical abuse.
7p-ish, "I talked to Rob...he resigned.”
The Daily Mail, who first reported on the scandal, has accused Kelly of "twisting the timeline" to his liking.
When the reports first came out, the White House said that President Trump was "saddened" to hear it. But, after Porter resigned, Trump commended his work for the administration and wished him well.
While Kelly sees no reason to resign, he did admit Friday that the administration did not exactly "cover ourselves in glory" in its handling of the situation.