President Trump on Wednesday declared he is “totally opposed to domestic violence of any kind” as the White House sought to tamp down growing controversy surrounding former aide Rob Porter, who resigned last week after facing allegations that he had abused his two ex-wives.
In a brief statement to reporters at the White House, Trump said, “I'm totally opposed to domestic violence of any kind. Everyone knows that. And it almost wouldn't even have to be said. So, now you hear it, but you all know.” He declined to answer follow-up questions.
Porter, who served as White House staff secretary, resigned a week ago amid the allegations from his former wives, who said he had been physically and emotionally abusive during their relationships. Porter denies the accusations. Although some top White House aides, including Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, expressed support for Porter after the initial allegations surfaced in news reports, pressure mounted on him to resign as more evidence was made public, including photos of Porter's first wife with a black eye she said he gave her on their honeymoon.
Porter had worked with a provisional security clearance, but he had been unable to secure a full clearance after the FBI learned of the allegations early last year. White House officials have offered conflicting timelines of how long Kelly and other aides had known about the abuse allegations and why they had not acted to remove him sooner.
On Tuesday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders denounced domestic violence but also emphasized that Trump believes those who have been accused deserve due process to ensure the claims are valid.
“The president takes all of these accusations very seriously,” she said. “He believes in due process. Above everything else, he supports the victims of any type of violence, and certainly would condemn any violence against anyone.”