Months before Willoughby spoke to reporters and identified Porter by name, she published a blog post explaining the fear and anxiety she felt about leaving her marriage and going public about the abuse she said she had suffered at the hands of a powerful man who was well-liked and well-respected. The reports also included a photo showing one of his exes with a black eye.
White House staff probably could have tried to sell the version of events Kelly told them to - it hinges upon how you define "credible", after all, and is only refuted by anonymously sourced reporting at this point - but the staff are apparently unwilling to go to bat for him and put their own necks on the chopping block.
A White House official said his position did not require a security clearance and his background check was ongoing. Porter and Kelly later discussed the allegations.
If so, Trump's first definition, in the person of Reince Priebus, was as an executive who preferred to surround himself by toadies prepared to pay the price of slathering Trump with praise and constitutionally incapable of standing up to him. But his frustration with Kelly has grown in recent weeks.
"The president also said: "Peoples lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation". And hopefully, what happened this week is already opening up a courageous new front in the world off #MeToo: one about domestic abuse, and one in which women will not only break their silence-but when they speak, they will be heard. Kelly's allure, for Trump chief of staff 2.0, was his standing as one of "my generals", as Trump likes to call them.
Trump has previously defended or sympathized with other men who were accused of abuse, including conservative media titan Roger Ailes and Fox News host Bill O'Reilly.
With key midterm elections approaching in November, they would also like to move away from the narrative of a White House in disarray.
Sorensen denied the accusations and said he had stepped down because he "didn't want the White House to have to deal with this distraction". The White House claims that the plethora of delays is par for the course, but several sources told the outlet that that it is, in fact, highly unusual.
"If John Kelly is covering this up, he needs to be held accountable", Sen. "Otherwise, he's gone, too". Deputy White House press secretary Raj Shah said Hicks later "recused" herself from some aspects of the matter.
Meanwhile, Chief of Staff John Kelly is facing pressure about his handling of the Porter case. Ailes denied the allegations.
Former White House staff secretary Rob Porter.
The Washington Post detailed allegations his ex-wife Jessica Corbett made against him - including that he ran over her foot in a auto, put out a cigarette out on her hand, threw her into a wall, and grasped her by her hair while they were alone on their boat.
"I say nothing", Trump said during a 2016 debate with candidate Hillary Clinton regarding Obama's long-form birth certificate.
She wrote again Thursday that she hoped her "story and my words can be a beacon forward for anyone who needs to be reminded: You are seen".