The Slatest

Top Trump Aide Resigns After Being Accused of Physically Abusing Ex-Wives

Donald Trump with Rob Porter and Utah Sen. Mike Lee on Dec. 4, 2017.
Donald Trump with Rob Porter and Utah Sen. Mike Lee on Dec. 4.
Chris Kleponis/Pool/Getty Images

A top White House aide has resigned after* published allegations that he physically abused two ex-wives:

While the publication that initially reported the allegations—the Daily Mail—is sometimes unreliable, an editor at the investigative site the Intercept indicated Wednesday that his publication has confirmed the Daily Mail’s reporting :

(Update, 2:45 p.m.: See the Intercept’s full story—which includes corroborating details that didn’t appear in the Daily Mail—here.)

Porter, the White House staff secretary, is reportedly close to chief of staff John Kelly; the New York Times reported last September that Porter had been “empowered” by Kelly to streamline the Trump White House’s “tangled policy-making process.” (One of his jobs was vetting the documents that cross Trump’s desk.)

Citing interviews as well as a police complaint, photos, and a blog post, the Daily Mail documented allegations that Porter “dragged” his second wife, Jennifer Willoughby, out of a shower during an argument and, on another occasion, punched a glass window while he was present in their apartment in violation of a separation agreement. (Update, 3 p.m.: The Intercept story suggests that Porter was technically outside the apartment when he punched the window but that he had violated the separation agreement earlier on the same day.) The Daily Mail quotes ex-wife Colbie Holderness, meanwhile, as saying that Porter held her down and choked her during arguments and once punched her in the face during a vacation.

Porter told the Daily Mail that its reporting was “slanderous and simply false” and said Wednesday in announcing his resignation that the allegations are “simply false” and constitute an “coordinated smear campaign.”

Porter joins a list of current and former Trump-world figures who have been accused of violence against women that includes former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, former White House adviser Steve Bannon, and Trump himself.

*Corrections, Feb. 7, 2018: This post’s headline initially misstated that both of Porter’s ex-wives accused him of punching and choking them. Only his first wife alleges those specific actions; the second alleges that he dragged her out of a shower during an argument and punched a glass window while violating a separation agreement that required him not to be present at their apartment. The post also initially misidentified the site that broke the story as a British tabloid. is U.S.-based.