Rob Porter, the White House staff secretary, said Wednesday he will resign amid allegations he abused his ex-wives.
In a statement, Porter said he will leave the White House but denied the allegations. “These outrageous allegations are simply false,” Porter said, according to The Washington Post.
He seemed to cast doubt on the claims behind photos of his ex-wife with blackened eyes. Both of Porter’s ex-wives — Colbie Holderness and Jennifer Willoughby — alleged he physically attacked them, according to the Daily Mail.
Holderness alleged Porter wasn’t physically abusive until their honeymoon.
“It was a really odd thing that he did,” she said. “He was angry because we weren’t having sex when he wanted to have sex and he kicked me. It seems such a juvenile thing at the time, but I remember thinking about words my mother had told me when it happened.”
“I took the photos given to the media nearly 15 years ago and the reality behind them is nowhere close to what is being described,” Porter said Wednesday. “I have been transparent and truthful about these vile claims, but I will not further engage publicly with a coordinated smear campaign.”
Although Holderness described Porter as “a bit of a monster,” White House Chief of Staff John Kelly called Porter a man of “true integrity” on Tuesday night.
“Rob Porter is a man of true integrity and honor and I can’t say enough good things about him. He is a friend, a confidante and a trusted professional. I am proud to serve alongside him,” Kelly said.
During her press briefing Wednesday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Porter made the decision on his own and didn’t feel pressure to leave.
Porter also allegedly didn’t receive a security clearance — required for his White House role — after the FBI interviewed Holderness about their marriage.
The White House refused to confirm or deny whether Porter received his clearance.
Correction: An earlier version of this post suggested that released photos showed black eyes on both Holderness and Willoughby. Those photos came from Holderness alone and appeared to only show her rather than Willoughby.