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Porter's ex-wife on female Trump aides' responses: 'I expected a woman to do better'

The Hill logo The Hill 2/13/2018 Jacqueline Thomsen

a person with collar shirt © Provided by The Hill The first wife of former White House staff secretary Rob Porter said she "expected a woman to do better" after press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders refused to say whether President Trump believed the abuse allegations against Porter.

Colbie Holderness, one of Porter's two ex-wives accusing him of domestic abuse, wrote in an op-ed for The Washington Post on Monday that she was dismayed by Huckabee Sanders and White House aide Kellyanne Conway's comments about the allegations.

Holderness said that she was taken aback by Conway's comments on CNN's "State of the Union" on Sunday. Conway said then that she wasn't worried for White House communications director Hope Hicks, who has reportedly been dating Porter, because she's "rarely met somebody so strong with such excellent instincts and loyalty and smarts."

"Her statement implies that those who have been in abusive relationships are not strong," Holderness wrote. "I beg to differ."

Holderness wrote that she, like other people in abusive relationships, struggled to recognize that she was in an abusive situation and to gain the strength to leave him.

"I walked away from that relationship a shell of the person I was when I went into it, but it took me a long time to realize the toll that his behavior was taking on me," she wrote.

She then knocked Huckabee Sanders for her responses to questions during Monday's press briefing.

"Supporting due process for any allegation is not tone deaf, I think it is allowing things to be investigated and a mere allegation not be the determining factor," Sanders said. "He's not taking a side necessarily."

"Monday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders again declined to say whether the president believes Willoughby and me. While I cannot say I am surprised, I expected a woman to do better," Holderness wrote.

"But Conway and I definitely agree on one thing she said during that interview: There's a stigma and a silence surrounding all these issues. . . . Those who are in a position to do something about it ought to," she wrote.

Porter resigned from the White House last week after Holderness and another ex-wife accused him of domestic abuse.

Trump said after Porter's resignation that he hopes Porter has a "great career ahead of him" and that "we wish him well."

The president also raised questions about a lack of due process in the claims in a tweet Saturday, saying that "peoples lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation."

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