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Ex-GOP aide: Trump White House ‘protects abusers’

The Hill logo The Hill 2/8/2018 Brandon Carter
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A former top aide to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) accused President Trump's White House of protecting abusers Thursday after former staff secretary Rob Porter resigned over domestic abuse allegations.

"The bottom line of this is that they protected an abuser," Amanda Carpenter said on CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper." "And guess what is a job qualification to work in this White House? It's to protect someone who talked favorably about sexual assault on the 'Access Hollywood' tape."

"There is a pattern of behavior," Carpenter continued. "They kept Corey Lewandowski on staff as a campaign manager after he bruised a reporter. This is the same president who laughed along with Howard Stern as he says disgusting things about his daughter. ... They protect abusers; there's no way of getting around it."

"If you tolerate people who do this to the people they save they love, what will they do to the people they don't know?"

Porter announced Wednesday that he would resign from his White House role after being accused of abusing his two ex-wives. Colbie Holderness and Jennifer Willoughby have alleged that the aide was physically and emotionally abusive. Holderness provided photos of injuries including a black eye.

Deputy press secretary Raj Shah acknowledged Thursday that the White House mishandled the controversy surrounding Porter after top officials defended the former aide following the initial round of media reports about the abuse.

White House chief of staff John Kelly and press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders initially issued statements of support for Porter after the first reports. Kelly called him "a man of true integrity and honor."

Porter has denied the allegations, calling them "outrageous" and "simply false."

"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. I have been transparent and truthful about these vile claims, but I will not further engage publicly with a coordinated smear campaign," he said in a statement.

Kelly issued a second statement late Wednesday night saying he was "shocked" by the allegations, but said he stood by his initial praise of Porter and insisted that the former top aide should have an opportunity to defend himself.

Porter was a top aide to Kelly in the White House and was responsible for the paper flow to President Trump's desk in the West Wing.

CBS News reported Wednesday that the allegations against Porter prevented him from obtaining a full security clearance. Multiple people in the White House were aware of the allegations before they were reported by media, according to reports.

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