- Hope Hicks, the White House communications director, played a key role in drafting a statement expressing support for the staff secretary, Rob Porter, sources told CNN.
- Porter resigned on Wednesday after two former wives accused him of physical and emotional abuse in articles in the Daily Mail.
- The initial White House statement called Porter a “man of true integrity and honour.”
As the Daily Mail was preparing to publish an article on Tuesday detailing allegations of domestic abuse against Rob Porter, the White House staff secretary, John Kelly gave the British news outlet an odd statement singing Porter’s praises.
“Rob Porter is a man of true integrity and honour, and I can’t say enough good things about him,” said the statement from Kelly, the White House chief of staff. “He is a friend, a confidante, and a trusted professional. I am proud to serve alongside him.”
After the story was published, Kelly’s statement raised eyebrows for its full-throated support of a man accused of physically and emotionally abusing two former wives. But he reportedly didn’t write it alone.
Hope Hicks, the White House communications director, helped draft the statement, people familiar with the matter told CNN. The Daily Mail has reported that she is dating Porter, and the CNN report said she had been romantically involved with him.
CNN described the sources as saying Hicks worked alongside Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, and Josh Raffel, another White House spokesman with a close relationship to Porter, to write Kelly’s statement.
Kelly issued a starkly different statement on Wednesday after Porter resigned and further details, including photos of one of his former wives with a black eye that she said Porter gave her, emerged in The Intercept.
“I was shocked by the new allegations released today against Rob Porter,” Kelly said. “There is no place for domestic violence in our society.
“I stand by my previous comments of the Rob Porter that I have come to know since becoming Chief of Staff, and believe every individual deserves the right to defend their reputation. I accepted his resignation earlier today, and will ensure a swift and orderly transition.”
Porter has denied the allegations, calling them “simply false” and suggesting that the photos provided to news outlets misrepresented what happened.
“I have been transparent and truthful about these vile claims, but I will not further engage publicly with a coordinated smear campaign,” he said.