US President Donald Trump was “saddened” by the domestic violence allegations against his former staff secretary Rob Porter, the White House has said. Porter resigned on Wednesday after his two ex-wives accused him of physical and emotional abuse.
“The President saw the news report on Tuesday night and was informed of the resignation on Wednesday. He was saddened by it. You know, saddened for all the individuals involved,” White House Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah told reporters.
Noting that the background investigations against Porter was not completed till date, Shah said the allegations made against him, involve incidents long before he joined the White House. “Therefore, they are best evaluated through the background check process,” he said.
“It’s important to remember that Rob Porter has repeatedly denied these allegations, and done so publicly. That doesn’t change how serious and disturbing these allegations are. They’re upsetting. And the background check investigates both the allegations and the denials. The investigation does not stop when allegations comes to light. It continues to determine the truth,” he said.
“We should not short-circuit an investigation just because allegations are made, unless they could compromise national security or interfere with operations at the White House. The truth must be determined,” Shah said. “His background investigation was ongoing. He was operating on an interim security clearance. His clearance was never denied, and he resigned,” Shah added.
Noting that the allegations against Porter are serious and deeply troubling, Shah told reporters that the former White House staffer denied them. “The incidents took place long before he joined the White House. Therefore, they were investigated as part of the background check, as this process is meant for such allegations. It was not completed, and Rob Porter has since resigned,” he said.
“During his time at the White House, Rob received no waivers and no special treatment. And this is the tried and true process. It was followed meticulously,” Shah said as he refuted reports that Porter was pressured to resign. “He offered his resignation and it was accepted,” he said.
“I think it’s fair to say that we all could have done better over the last few days in dealing with this situation,” he said. “But this was the Rob Porter that I and many others have dealt with, that Sarah dealt with, that other officials, including the Chief of Staff, have dealt with. The emerging reports were not reflective of the individual who we had come to know,” Shah said.