Connelly: Trump sings praises of ex-aide accused of abusing ex-wives

White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter center hands President Donald Trump a confirmation order for James Mattis as defense secretary in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington as White House Chief

With John Kelly under fire for his handling of a top aide's domestic abuse scandal, there is a new round of reports that President Donald Trump is entertaining the possibility of replacing the retired four-star Marine general as his chief of staff.

The administration's number two weighed in from South Korea on the controversy that has engulfed the White House this week, after allegations from Porter's two ex-wives led to his resignation.

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.

Christie told ABC News in a Wednesday podcast that Porter's name never came up when he was in charge of Trump's transition team.

The President focused on Porter's denial of the allegations that he struck his two-ex-wives while they were married.

Folks, in the midst of the revelations about Rob Porter and domestic abuse, there's one crucial lesson that should not be lost: if anyone ever lays a hand on you, take a picture. Both women said that they informed the Federal Bureau of Investigation in January 2017 of their allegations while they were being interviewed by agents as part of Porter's security clearance review. On Wednesday night, after Porter had resigned, Kelly issued a statement condemning Porter's alleged abuses and stated that "there is no place for domestic violence in our society".

He did not directly answer a question as to whether he believes the president's staff is serving him well, amid reports that Kelly knew about the allegations months before they were public.

And many, including the president himself, have turned their ire on Kelly for vouching for Porter's character and falsely asserting that he had moved aggressively to oust him once his misdeeds were discovered. "He worked very hard and we found out about it recently and I was surprised by it, but we certainly wish him well".

President Donald Trump speaks with White House Chief of Staff John Kelly second from right and White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley right after meeting with Don Bouvet left in the Oval Office of the White House Friday Feb. 9 2018 in W
Connelly: Trump sings praises of ex-aide accused of abusing ex-wives

"We hope that he will have a wonderful career", Trump added.

Kelly reportedly knew about the protective order against Porter well before the staff secretary resigned.

"He says he's innocent, and I think you have to remember that", Trump said.

Kelly himself succeeded Trump's first chief of staff, Reince Priebus, in late July.

And people say this president lacks compassion! Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah said Thursday that Kelly did not have "detailed updates about what may or may not have been alleged". A dismissal of Kelly would surely revive the narrative of a White House in crisis as it faces the ongoing Russian Federation probe and the midterm elections.

And that's really what matters in this White House.

White House spokesmen declined to comment on Kelly's message at the staff meeting. "His pathetic defense of staff secretary Rob Porter reveals his true nature - an enabler of sexual abusers, a betrayer of trust and an avoider of responsibility".

Porter's former wives recounted physical, verbal and emotional abuse they say he subjected them to during their marriages. One of them, Jennifer Willoughby, posted about it in detail on Instagram in April 2017 and wrote of Porter that "When I tried to get help, I was counseled to consider carefully how what I said might affect his career".

Zuma's future to be discussed by 200-plus ANC members
The radical opposition Economic Freedom Fighters party have meanwhile called for a "national shutdown" to force Zuma out. The governing ANC party has called a meeting of its top body for Wednesday to decide on Mr Zuma's future.

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