John Kelly sends staff email condemning domestic violence
White House chief of staff John Kelly sent a lengthy memo to White House staffers Thursday night addressing the allegations made against former White House staffer Rob Porter.
In one of the paragraphs, Kelly wrote, “While we are all processing the shocking and troubling allegations made against a former White House staffer, I want you to know that we all take matters of domestic violence seriously. Domestic violence is abhorrent and has no place in our society.”
Kelly also advised staffers who are seeking counseling that resources are available at the White House.
On Tuesday, allegations of domestic abuse surfaced against Porter by his two ex-wives. The White House — including Kelly — initially defended Porter, however a statement Wednesday condemned the alleged actions of Porter.
A source familiar with the matter said Porter’s ex-girlfriend called White House counsel Don McGahn in recent weeks to inform him of abuse allegations and added that whatever McGahn did with the information clearly wasn’t enough. Morale at the White House on Thursday was low, the individual said, and called it “communication malpractice” on the part of the administration with the strong statements defending Porter.
On Thursday, White House spokesperson Raj Shah addressed reporters’ questions at the White House daily briefing. President Donald Trump watched Shah’s debut at the podium, but was reportedly not happy over comments Shah made saying that the White House could have done better in its handling of the situation.
“I think it’s fair to say we all could have done better dealing with this over the last few days,” Shah said.
Shah would not specify how much the White House was aware of regarding the allegations against Porter over the past year during the news briefing.