President Trump said Wednesday he is “totally opposed to domestic violence” amid questions over his administration’s handling of abuse allegations lodged against former White House aide Rob Porter.
“I’m totally opposed to domestic violence,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office. “And everybody here knows that.”
He added: “I’m totally opposed to domestic violence of any kind. Everyone knows that. And it almost wouldn’t even have to be said. So, now you hear it, but you all know it.”
Porter served as White House staff secretary until last week, when news stories surfaced detailing past domestic abuse allegations leveled by two ex-spouses. Porter has denied the allegations.
Since Porter’s departure, the White House has faced an avalanche of questions about when it first learned of the allegations against Porter and why action wasn’t immediately taken against him.
Trump had praised Porter, his former staff secretary, on Friday in his first comments about the allegations. And on Saturday, he appeared to cast doubt on the women’s allegations when he tweeted: “Peoples lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation.”
The White House’s handling of the Porter situation has ensnared senior West Wing officials, calling into question the decision-making and honesty of Chief of Staff John Kelly and White House Counsel Don McGahn.
Meanwhile, Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., chairman of the House Oversight Committee, said Wednesday that his panel has launched an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the former staff secretary’s post.
In a letter sent Wednesday to FBI Director Christopher Wray, Gowdy said the panel is investigating the interim security clearance process and “the extent to which any security clearance issued to Porter comported with those policies and processes.”
This includes looking at what “derogatory information” was made available to the White House — “when, and to whom.”
Porter, who exited the White House last week after the accusations from two ex-wives went public, was under consideration to fill the role of deputy chief of staff, multiple administration sources said.
Fox News’ Adam Shaw and Serafin Gomez and The Associated Press contributed to this report.