- The Washington Times - Friday, March 2, 2018

White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly said Friday that he never considered resigning over the clumsy handling of spousal abuse allegations against former aide Rob Porter.

“I have absolutely nothing to even consider resigning over,” Mr. Kelly told reporters at the White House.

Mr. Kelly has come under intense scrutiny for allowing Mr. Porter to work in the White House with interim security clearance despite the alleged spousal abuse being uncovered by the FBI background check.

The chief of staff admitted the episode was mishandled, with mixed messages from himself and other officials during 24 hours of confusion before it was announced that Mr. Porter had resigned as White House staff secretary.

“We didn’t cover ourselves in glory in terms of how we handled that,” he said. “It was confusing.”



Mr. Kelly presented his own timeline of events that occurred behind the scenes before Mr. Porter’s resignation.

He stressed that he didn’t know about the spousal abuse allegations from Mr. Porter’s two ex-wives until Feb. 6.

Mr. Porter’s resignation was announced Feb. 7, though Mr. Kelly said he received the resignation a day earlier.

Mr. Kelly said he was first told of “red flags” on Mr. Porter’s security clearance background on Feb. 6.

Despite learning about the allegations of spousal abuse, the White House put out a statement Feb. 6 from Mr. Kelly defending Mr. Porter’s character.

Mr. Kelly said the statement went out before he had seen the photograph of Mr. Porter’s former wife with a black eye.

He also said that Mr. Porter resigned before the photograph emerged.

“He had already resigned. I talked to Rob again to make sure he knew he had resigned,” Mr. Kelly said.

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