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Rob Porter

Rob Porter
White House Staff Secretary
In office
January 20, 2017 – February 7, 2018
President Donald Trump
Deputy Derek Lyons
Preceded by Joani Walsh
Succeeded by Derek Lyons
Personal details
Born Robert Roger Porter
(1977-10-25) October 25, 1977 (age 40)
Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s)
Colbie Holderness
(m. 2003; div. 2008)

Jennie Willoughby
(m. 2009; div. 2013)
Parents Roger B. Porter
Ann Porter
Education Harvard University (BA, JD)
New College, Oxford (MPhil)

Robert Roger Porter (born October 25, 1977[1]) is an American lawyer and former political aide who served as White House Staff Secretary for President Donald Trump from January 20, 2017, until February 7, 2018. He was previously Chief of Staff for U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch of Utah.

Porter resigned his position as White House Staff Secretary after domestic abuse allegations from both of his former wives came to public attention.[2] He was succeeded on an acting basis by Derek Lyons.[3]

Early life

Porter grew up in Belmont, Massachusetts, and Washington, D.C.[4] He is the son of Roger B. Porter, a former aide to President George H. W. Bush and currently IBM Professor of Business and Government at Harvard University.[5] Porter's mother Ann Porter, who died in May 2017, was Faculty Dean of Harvard's Dunster House dormitory.[6] After graduating from high school, Porter interned in the U.S. Senate.[4] He attended Harvard University,[7] where he studied government and was president of the Harvard Republican Club. After his freshman year at Harvard, he began a two-year stint as a Mormon missionary in London.[4] During the summer of his junior year, Porter completed an internship at the White House and worked for the Domestic Policy Council.[4] He graduated in 2002.[4] Porter was a Rhodes Scholar, studying Political Theory at the University of Oxford,[4] where his thesis research focused on C.S. Lewis prior to graduation in 2005.[8][9][10] Porter then attended Harvard Law School, graduating in 2008, with his Juris Doctorate.[10] Prior to beginning federal employment, according to his LinkedIn profile, Porter was an associate attorney for the Sidley Austin law firm from April 2010 to January 2011.[11]

Political career

Senatorial staff member

Porter has worked for Senators Rob Portman and Mike Lee.[12][13]

In March 2014, Porter began working for Senator Orrin Hatch. Porter was initially appointed Deputy Chief of Staff and was promoted to Chief of Staff in June of that year. Porter left the role in January 2017, to become White House Staff Secretary for President Donald Trump.[14]

White House Staff Secretary

Porter became White House Staff Secretary for President Donald Trump on January 20, 2017.

Porter resigned from the position on February 7, 2018, following public allegations of spousal abuse from his two ex-wives, Colbie Holderness and Jennifer Willoughby.[15] The allegations were supported by photographs of a black eye (which Porter claimed he took) and a restraining order.[16][17] Porter has said the allegations are false and are part of a "coordinated smear campaign".[18] The Washington Post reported that White House counsel Donald McGahn had known since January 2017 about the allegations Porter's ex-wives made to the FBI, and that Chief of Staff John F. Kelly had known about the allegations since October 2017, still promoting Porter after.[19] Post reporter Aaron Blake wrote that this development made the allegations a "full-blown scandal".[20]

Asked by reporters two days after Porter's resignation, President Donald Trump commented, "He said very strongly yesterday that he's innocent so you have to talk to him about that, but we absolutely wish him well, he did a very good job when he was at the White House."[21] In mid-February 2018, it was reported that Senator Hatch had sent letters to Porter's former wives, apologizing for initially defending Porter in response to their accusations against him.[22]

Kelly told reporters on March 2, 2018 that he sought Porter's resignation immediately after learning of the accusations on February 6 and regretted his handling of Porter's departure; he also said that contrary to earlier White House statements, Porter's background check had been completed by the FBI, as had been disputed publicly by bureau director, Christopher Wray.[23]

Personal life

In 2003, Porter married Colbie Holderness;[24] they divorced in 2008 and she said he had physically abused her multiple times throughout their marriage.[25][24] In 2009, he married Jennifer Willoughby. After repeated verbal abuse, she obtained a restraining order against him in 2010.[24] They divorced in 2013.[24][25]

Porter has been dating now former White House Director of Communications Hope Hicks.[26]

He is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon Church).[8] He was raised a member of the church and served a full-time 24-month mission. He became less active in Mormonism around the time of his second divorce.[27] Both of his ex-wives are Mormon, but he has commented that if he marries a third time, he will not marry another Mormon woman.[27]

Domestic abuse allegations

Both of Porter's ex-wives accused him of physical and emotional abuse in February 2018 interviews published by Daily Mail.[16] Photographs of Holderness with a black eye and her detailed accounts of Porter's alleged abuse were also made public.[28] In late November 2017, a girlfriend of Porter's had also alerted her friend, White House Counsel Don McGahn, regarding Porter's "anger problems".[29] Ex-wife Willoughby had sought and received a three-day emergency protective order against him in June 2010.[30] Despite their testimonies and evidence presented, Porter denied his ex-wives' allegations and resigned from his staff secretary post after they became public.[31] In February 2018, Willoughby told the Daily Mail, that Porter was verbally abusive to her and pulled her out of the shower in 2010. She stated "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."[32]

References

  1. ^ "Rob Porter Emergency Protective Order" (JPG). Commonwealth of Virginia. June 19, 2010. Retrieved February 13, 2018 – via Daily Mail. 
  2. ^ Prokopandrew, Andrew (February 8, 2018). "Rob Porter's domestic violence scandal, and what it means for Trump's White House, explained". Vox. Archived from the original on February 8, 2018. Retrieved February 9, 2018. 
  3. ^ "White House taps interim replacement for aide accused of abuse". The Hill. Retrieved February 10, 2018. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f "Harvard leads way in Rhodes Scholars". Harvard Gazette. December 13, 2001. Archived from the original on September 13, 2017. Retrieved September 12, 2017. 
  5. ^ "Britain-bound". Harvard Magazine. March 1, 2002. Archived from the original on February 8, 2018. Retrieved February 7, 2018. 
  6. ^ Bishai, Graham W.; Xiao, Derek G. (May 18, 2017). "College Mourns the Loss of Dunster Faculty Dean Ann Porter". The Harvard Crimson. Retrieved February 20, 2018. 
  7. ^ Burr, Thomas (January 13, 2017). "Trump names Hatch chief of staff as new White House staff secretary". The Salt Lake Tribune. Archived from the original on January 16, 2017. Retrieved January 18, 2017. 
  8. ^ a b Boyd, Hal (February 2, 2017). "Hal Boyd: Meet the Mormon helping run Donald Trump's White House". Deseret News. Archived from the original on April 29, 2017. Retrieved February 7, 2018. 
  9. ^ Porter, Robert R. (2004). Natural law and the political thought of C.S. Lewis, Thesis (M.Phil.). University of Oxford. Retrieved February 16, 2018. 
  10. ^ a b "Revolving Door : Rob Porter Education". OpenSecrets. Retrieved February 16, 2018. 
  11. ^ "Rob Porter Employment Summary". OpenSecrets. Retrieved February 15, 2018. 
  12. ^ Romboy, Dennis (January 13, 2017). "Hatch aide named to key White House job". Deseret News. Archived from the original on January 14, 2017. Retrieved January 18, 2017. 
  13. ^ Burr, Thomas (January 13, 2017). "Trump names Hatch chief of staff as new White House staff secretary". The Salt Lake Tribune. Archived from the original on February 9, 2017. Retrieved April 27, 2017. 
  14. ^ "Hatch Applauds Selection of Chief of Staff as Senior White House Aide, Names Senior Counsel as New Chief" (Press release). United States Senator Orrin Hatch. Archived from the original on February 8, 2018. Retrieved February 9, 2018. 
  15. ^ Jonathan Swan. White House staff secretary Rob Porter resigns amid abuse allegations Archived February 7, 2018, at the Wayback Machine.. Axios.
  16. ^ a b Haberman, Maggie; Rogers, Katie (February 7, 2018). "Rob Porter, White House Aide, Resigns After Accusations of Abuse". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on February 7, 2018. Retrieved February 7, 2018. 
  17. ^ Grim, Ryan; Brown, Alleen (February 7, 2018). "Former Wives of Top White House Aide Rob Porter Both Told FBI He Abused Them". The Intercept. Archived from the original on February 7, 2018. Retrieved February 7, 2018. 
  18. ^ Liptak, Kevin; Klein, Betsy; Collins, Kaitlan (February 7, 2018). "White House aide denies abuse allegations but resigns". CNN. Archived from the original on February 8, 2018. Retrieved February 9, 2018. 
  19. ^ Dawsey, Josh; Reinhard, Beth (February 8, 2018). "Top White House officials knew of abuse allegations against top aide for months". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on February 9, 2018. Retrieved February 9, 2018. 
  20. ^ Blake, Aaron (February 9, 2018). "The Rob Porter debacle becomes the Rob Porter scandal". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on February 9, 2018. Retrieved February 9, 2018. 
  21. ^ Smith, David (February 9, 2018). "Trump defends top official accused of domestic abuse: 'He did a very good job'". The Guardian. Archived from the original on February 9, 2018. Retrieved February 9, 2018. 
  22. ^ Anapol, Avery (February 17, 2018). "Hatch sends apology letters to Porter's ex-wives: report". The Hill. Retrieved February 18, 2018. 
  23. ^ Bender, Michael C. (March 2, 2018). "John Kelly Says Resignation of Top Aide Rob Porter Was Mishandled"Paid subscription required. The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved March 5, 2018. 
  24. ^ a b c d Liptak, Kevin; Lee, MJ (February 9, 2018). "Former White House aide's ex-wives detail abuse allegations". CNN. Archived from the original on February 8, 2018. Retrieved February 9, 2018. 
  25. ^ a b "A timeline of the Rob Porter allegations and White House responses". CBS News. February 9, 2018. Retrieved February 16, 2018. 
  26. ^ "White House aide Rob Porter resigning amid abuse allegations". CBS News. 8 February 2018. Archived from the original on February 8, 2018. Retrieved 8 February 2018. 
  27. ^ a b Rogers, Katie (February 19, 2018). "Rob Porter's Charisma and Ambition Disguised Flare-ups of Anger". New York Times. Retrieved February 20, 2018. 
  28. ^ Holderness, Colbie (February 12, 2018). "Rob Porter is my ex-husband. Here's what you should know about abuse". The Washington Post. Retrieved March 2, 2018. 
  29. ^ Davis, Julie Hirschfeld; Shear, Michael D. (February 13, 2018). "White House Let Rob Porter Keep Job Even After Receiving Final F.B.I. Report". The New York Times. Retrieved February 23, 2018. 
  30. ^ "Read the emergency protective order against Rob Porter". Washington Post. February 7, 2018. Archived from the original on February 8, 2018. Retrieved February 7, 2018. 
  31. ^ Dawsey, Josh; Reinhard, Beth; Viebeck, Elise (February 7, 2018). "Senior White House official to resign after ex-wives' allegations of abuse". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on February 8, 2018. Retrieved February 7, 2018. 
  32. ^ Restuccia, Andrew; Johnson, Eliana (February 7, 2018). "White House aide Rob Porter resigns after allegations from two ex-wives". Politico. Archived from the original on February 7, 2018. Retrieved February 7, 2018. 

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Joani Walsh
White House Staff Secretary
2017–2018
Succeeded by
Derek Lyons
Acting