President TrumpDonald John TrumpTillerson: Russia already looking to interfere in 2018 midterms Dems pick up deep-red legislative seat in Missouri Speier on Trump’s desire for military parade: ‘We have a Napoleon in the making’ MORE praised the work of former White House staff secretary Rob Porter on Friday, saying he hopes Porter – who resigned after reports surfaced that he abused his ex-wives – has a “great career ahead of him.”
“Well, we wish him well. He worked very hard,” Trump said of Porter when asked by reporters about the staff secretary’s resignation this week.
“I found out about it very recently and I was surprised by it. But we certainly wish him well, obviously a tough time for him,” Trump said from the Oval Office. “He did a very good job when he was in the White House and we hope he has a wonderful, hopefully, he has a great career ahead of him.”
“But it was very sad when we heard about it, and certainly he’s also very sad now,” he added.
Trump went on to highlight the denials by Porter, who has said the allegations against him are not true.
“He says he’s innocent, and I think you have to remember that. He said very strongly yesterday that he’s innocent. So you’ll have to talk to him about that. But we absolutely wish him well,” Trump continued.
Porter’s two ex-wives accused him of abusing them during their marriages in media accounts this week. One of the accounts included photos purportedly showing the abuse, with Porter’s first wife, Colbie Holderness, telling reporters that she made Porter take those photographs in “contrition.”
Trump made no mention of the women specifically and offered no general condemnation of domestic violence.
The White House initially defended Porter amid calls for his resignation, with the administration releasing statements praising Porter and his work.
But officials hardened their tone after Porter resigned on Wednesday – the White House released a subsequent statement from chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE saying that “there is no place for domestic violence in our society,” but that he stood by his “previous comments of the Rob Porter that I have come to know since becoming chief of staff.”
The abuse allegations became public after the Daily Mail reported that Porter was dating White House communications director , one of Trump’s longest-serving aides.
Both Hicks and Kelly were in the Oval Office Friday as Trump made his comments.