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John Kelly renews defense in wake of Rob Porter abuse scandal

White House chief of staff John Kelly, seeking to defend himself from questions about how he handled the dismissal of...

Posted: Mar 2, 2018 2:57 PM
Updated: Mar 2, 2018 2:57 PM

White House chief of staff John Kelly, seeking to defend himself from questions about how he handled the dismissal of Rob Porter, told reporters on Friday that he never considered resigning over the fallout.

Porter, President Donald Trump's staff secretary, was accused of domestic abuse against two ex-wives, though he denied any wrongdoing.

"I have absolutely nothing to even consider resigning over," Kelly said.

But Kelly did admit to reporters that senior White House aides "didn't cover ourselves in glory" in how they handled the fallout.

Kelly, in a lengthy meeting with reporters in his office on Friday, said he first learned of the "serious accusation" against Porter on February 6, the day reporters from the Daily Mail began asking the White House for reaction to what Porter's two ex-wives told them about his abusive behavior.

At issue was how the White House initially defended Porter in statements from both Kelly and White House press secretary Sarah Sanders after the Daily Mail and others published their stories about the ex-wives' allegations. Kelly stood by his statement that Porter was "someone of the highest integrity and exemplary character" after photos of the domestic abuse against Colbie Holderness was made public.

"We put out a statement of support for him and an hour later now find out there's a second report -- still not in the press, still no pictures -- just an inquiry by someone probably in this room that said 'Hey, his first wife of 15 years ago says that there was physical abuse,' " Kelly said. "He had already resigned. I just talked to Rob again to make sure he knew he had resigned."

Kelly said during the briefing that he released those statements based on his personal interactions with Porter in the White House and blamed a mix up over the timing of when Porter would be leaving his post.

Kelly's explanation did not fully comport with CNN's reporting on the Porter scandal, however.

The chief of staff told reporters during the briefing that he did not learn about the accusations until the Daily Mail approached the White House for a comment on February 6. But source inside the White House told CNN when the scandal broke that White House counsel Don McGahn, Kelly and deputy chief of staff Joe Hagin were also made aware of the domestic issues in November, the source said. The White House contends that the "full nature" of the allegations did not come out until later.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 941120

Reported Deaths: 15315
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion1282511983
Lake633041097
Allen53609758
Hamilton43827447
St. Joseph41906590
Elkhart33545490
Vanderburgh30383448
Tippecanoe26820249
Johnson23609417
Hendricks22250341
Porter21737346
Clark17409229
Madison17366384
Vigo16108281
Monroe14466191
LaPorte14311239
Delaware14070221
Howard13865272
Kosciusko11418135
Hancock10841165
Warrick10674177
Bartholomew10542168
Floyd10430205
Wayne9959226
Grant9130204
Morgan8865160
Boone8389111
Dubois7710123
Dearborn762289
Henry7608130
Noble7413101
Marshall7362128
Cass7176117
Lawrence6957153
Shelby6584111
Jackson656785
Gibson6156107
Harrison603786
Huntington600195
Montgomery5805105
DeKalb574291
Knox5494104
Miami542488
Putnam536768
Clinton533665
Whitley524953
Steuben497268
Wabash483592
Jasper479160
Jefferson470092
Ripley454277
Adams444068
Daviess4169108
Scott405865
White391857
Clay390857
Greene388392
Decatur385296
Wells384983
Fayette374278
Posey359941
Jennings353156
Washington332047
LaGrange321375
Spencer317835
Fountain316555
Randolph312888
Sullivan307449
Owen283863
Starke280064
Fulton277553
Orange275859
Jay254837
Perry251652
Carroll243729
Franklin239338
Rush234130
Vermillion233250
Parke219820
Tipton209655
Pike207639
Blackford168334
Pulaski163551
Crawford146018
Newton144345
Benton142516
Brown135346
Martin128217
Switzerland125810
Warren114616
Union96911
Ohio79711
Unassigned0479

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1365800

Reported Deaths: 21596
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1522221560
Cuyahoga1344852327
Hamilton976051320
Montgomery670271141
Summit562091047
Lucas50900863
Butler47417655
Stark41580976
Lorain31567532
Warren30001331
Mahoning26963639
Clermont25628292
Lake24585417
Delaware22313145
Licking20487241
Fairfield20420221
Greene20309272
Trumbull19866509
Medina19796287
Clark17879328
Richland16314234
Portage16130229
Wood15681208
Allen14115256
Miami13786253
Muskingum12641152
Wayne11946238
Columbiana11708241
Tuscarawas10953269
Marion10725148
Pickaway10465129
Scioto10324127
Erie9747171
Ross9436176
Lawrence8755125
Hancock8458141
Ashtabula8317185
Geauga8173156
Belmont8140187
Jefferson7527172
Huron7423128
Union731851
Washington7183120
Athens697165
Sandusky6848134
Darke6756136
Knox6671122
Seneca6358137
Ashland5948113
Auglaize587188
Shelby5727101
Brown564171
Mercer557890
Defiance5483101
Madison543371
Crawford5425114
Highland541581
Fulton530683
Clinton525580
Logan512182
Preble4994110
Putnam4833106
Guernsey470364
Williams459282
Perry449852
Champaign445964
Ottawa436884
Jackson425362
Pike388843
Morrow383851
Fayette375853
Coshocton374766
Adams360675
Hardin359069
Gallia347356
Holmes3259108
Henry324668
Van Wert314670
Hocking301769
Wyandot280658
Carroll262652
Paulding242243
Meigs213942
Monroe189749
Noble169340
Morgan165829
Harrison157940
Vinton138118
Unassigned05
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