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Pence: White House could have better handled Porter situation

The Hill logo The Hill 2/14/2018 Jordan Fabian
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Vice President Mike Pence on Wednesday said the White House could have done a better job handling the Rob Porter domestic-abuse allegations.

Pence said that the Trump administration has "no tolerance for domestic violence," but added that "the White House could have handled this better."

The vice president's remarks come as the saga surrounding Porter shows no signs of ending, and after House Oversight Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) announced his panel would begin an investigation.

The White House itself has said it could have handled the situation better, though President Trump has offered no public remarks suggesting he agrees with that sentiment.

Porter resigned as staff secretary last week after two of his ex-wives publicly accused him of domestic abuse. The FBI had completed a background check investigation in July, but Porter remained working at the White House until last week.

The White House has offered different explanations for how Porter remained at the White House, and chief of staff John Kelly has come under heavy criticism - including from prominent supporters of President Trump.

Pence offered a note of confidence for Kelly.

"John Kelly has done a remarkable job as chief of staff for the president of the United States and I look forward to working with him for many, many months to come," Pence said at an event sponsored by Axios.

The vice president said he would offer more advice on the matter privately to Trump.

Pence, however, dodged when asked if Kelly has been completely honest in explaining how the White House handled the allegations against Porter.

"There are very few Americans or American families that have served this country more honorably nor sacrificed more than the family of John Kelly," he said.

Kelly has said he would not have handled the Porter situation any differently.

"It was all done right," he told The Wall Street Journal on Monday.

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