Vice President Mike Pence conceded in a Wednesday interview that the White House could have handled the situation with White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter and allegations of domestic abuse against him “better.”
The Vice President stated that the Trump administration “has no tolerance for domestic violence, nor should any American.”
Porter resigned from his position as White House staff secretary shortly after the Daily Mail broke a story alleging that Porter abused two of his ex-wives. White House Chief of Staff John Kelly has come under heavy criticism for an initial response that came to the defense of Porter and reports that he knew about the allegations months before they were reported in the news.
“I think the White House could have handled this better,” Pence continued in the Wednesday interview, noting that this statement echoes White House comment on the matter.
White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah told reporters in last Thursday’s White House press briefing that “we all could have done better over the last few hours…er last few days in dealing with this situation.” Shah would not reveal details about how long ago Kelly first knew about the allegations against Porter, only that Kelly first saw photos of the alleged abuse in news reports published Wednesday. Shah said that it was on Wednesday that Kelly became “fully” aware of the abuse allegations against Porter. Porter had been operating on an interim security clearance. Abuse allegations had been made known to the FBI in the course of the security clearance process.
Pence’s interviewer then asked the Vice President if he believes White House Chief of Staff John Kelly has been “fully honest and transparent in [Kelly’s] explanation of Rob Porter’s departure.”
Pence emphasized Kelly’s long history of honorable and sacrificial service to the country in several capacities. He said both he and President Trump have “great confidence in this good man.” He then said that “families members in uniform, here and gone, have served this nation with a love and a patriotism and a passion that should inspire us all.”
The interviewer then attempted to get Pence to answer as to whether that response meant that the Vice President thinks Kelly should stay on with the administration.
Pence responded, “John Kelly has done a remarkable job as Chief of Staff for President of the United States and I look forward to continuing to work with him for many, many months to come.”
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