White House staff secretary Rob Porter said that he would resign after his two ex-wives accused him of physical and emotional abuse, with one presenting pictures of her blackened eye, the Washington Post reports. Porter has functioned as Chief of Staff John Kelly’s top enforcer in their shared mission to instill discipline and order in what had become an extraordinarily chaotic West Wing. He was the gatekeeper to the Oval Office, determining which articles and policy proposals reached the president’s hands and screening the briefing materials that his visitors shared with him.
Aides had been aware generally of accusations against Porter since late last year, White House advisers said, but learned of the specifics late Tuesday when approached by a reporter from DailyMail.com. Porter’s ex-wives said they informed the FBI in January 2017 of their allegations against him while they were being interviewed by agents as part of Porter’s security clearance review. It was unclear whether the FBI informed the White House. Porter said that he would resign even as he told White House officials he had never physically abused women. Porter decided the controversy had become too much after the photos of his ex-wife’s blackened eye appeared Wednesday morning. In interviews with the Post and other media, Porter’s ex-wives described him as having a dark side and, at times, a violent streak that White House aides say they did not see. Porter’s first wife, Colbie Holderness, said he was continually abusive during their marriage. She alleged he punched her in the face during a trip to Florence in 2005 and provided photos showing her with a black eye.