The Slatest

Second White House Staffer Quits Over Domestic Abuse Allegations

President Donald Trump looks on during a meeting in the Oval Office  of the White House, February 9, 2018 in Washington, DC.
President Donald Trump looks on during a meeting in the Oval Office of the White House, February 9, 2018 in Washington, D.C. Pool/Getty Images

As the White House went into yet another round of crisis-management mode this past week following revelations that the administration did not get rid of an aide who had been accused of domestic abuse until after it was reported in the press, another staffer stepped down Friday following similar allegations. Speechwriter David Sorensen resigned Friday as the Washington Post was reporting a story on the claims by his ex-wife, Jessica Corbett, that he was “violent and emotionally abusive” during their marriage. Sorensen denies the allegations, claiming that he was the victim in what the Post characterizes as their “turbulent” marriage.

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The White House claims it confronted the speechwriter with the Council on Environmental Quality over the allegations before the Post reached out for comment on its story. “Before we were contacted by the media, we learned last night that there were allegations. We immediately confronted the staffer, he denied the allegations and he resigned today,” White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah said.

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Sorensen’s resignation came two days after staff secretary Rob Porter left the administration after reports of claims from two ex-wives that he physically abused them. Despite the similarities in the stories, the Post says it was first contacted by Corbett before Porter’s case became public. “She said that during her marriage to Sorensen, he ran a car over her foot, put out a cigarette on her hand, threw her into a wall and grasped her menacingly by her hair while they were alone on their boat in remote waters off Maine’s coast, an incident she said left her fearing for her life,” the paper reports.

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In a lengthy statement, Sorensen vehemently denied the allegations. “I have never committed violence of any kind against any woman in my entire life,” Sorensen said. “In fact, I was the victim of repeated physical violence during our marriage, not her.” The 32-year-old speechwriter who was once an adviser to Republican Gov. Paul LePage of Maine added that he was in talks with an attorney and was “considering legal options to address her defamation.” Sorensen said he decided to quit because he “didn’t want the White House to have to deal with this distraction.”

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Sorensen’s position didn’t require a security clearance and his background check was ongoing, according to the White House. Corbett, however, told the Post she first told the FBI about Sorensen’s behavior last fall.

His resignation came shortly after Trump surprised many by seemingly defending Porter, telling the press that he hopes his ex-staffer “has a great career ahead of him,” adding that “he says he’s innocent and I think you have to remember that.” Earlier in the day, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand wrote a series of tweets noting Porter’s resignation was an “important time to talk about this WH and whether they value women. Because, consistently, their actions tell us they don’t.”

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