Press Briefing Addresses Abuse Scandal At The White House, Trump Responds

February 08, 2018Feb 08, 2018

White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah address the controversy surrounding staff secretary Rob Porter. Porter has been accused of domestic abuse by two ex-wives.

During a press briefing that Shah gave on Thursday, he said President Trump was "saddened" by the domestic violence allegations, reported The Hill

Porter left the White House on Wednesday after multiple reports detailed abuse allegations by both of his ex-wives. The allegations surfaced during Porter's FBI background check. Porter had been working at the White House on a temporary security clearance while the FBI finished the background check.

Shah told reporters that the president was unaware of the allegations until reports first surfaced Tuesday night.

"He was surprised. He, like many of us, did not see that in Rob Porter, did not see what those allegations have brought forward," Shah said.

"He was surprised by it, disheartened by it, saddened by it."

The White House initially defended Porter, who denied the allegations in a statement. The language changed Wednesday night after Porter announced his resignation.

During the press briefing, Shah also acknowledged that the White House had mishandled the controversy, which is complicated by White House communications director Hope Hicks' romantic relationship with Porter.

Shah said Hicks' had recused herself from parts of the investigation. He did not add any more details.

When the allegations came out, John Kelly and White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders heaped praise on Porter.

Shah, who led his first daily press briefing, said the White House “could have done better” in handling the situation.

“We all could have done better over the last few hours the last few days in dealing with this … but the emerging reports were not reflective of the individual we have come to know,” Shah said.

He said that as Porter's actions became more apparent—especially with the release of photos of his first wife with a black eye—it became clear he should leave the White House.

Shah said Porter has resigned, and his last day was Wednesday.

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