Trump has confidence in Kelly, not seeking replacement


"I spoke to the president last night, and I told him I would be with you today". He said Kelly is doing "a really great job", and "most importantly, I think the president thinks he's doing a great job, as well".

Kelly has faced scrutiny over his handling of domestic violence accusations against staff secretary Rob Porter, who resigned last week after two ex-wives publicly accused him of physical abuse.

The reports of abuse have shaken up an already tumultuous administration, as reports now indicate that Chief of Staff John Kelly has discussed his willingness to resign due to his handling of the Porter matter.

"As soon as Rob Porter was proven wrong, it was proven he was not telling the truth when the photos came out on Wednesday, he was gone nearly immediately", Mulvaney said. By the time the president was fully briefed of the claims against Porter on Wednesday, the once-rising White House star had already resigned, according to the official.

Porter's ex-wives detailed the allegations to the Federal Bureau of Investigation over the course of a routine background check, they told CNN.

He also responded to Trump's tweet Saturday in which he didn't mention a zero-tolerance policy but said: "Peoples (sic) lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation".

Kelly himself faced criticism for initially defending his aide - only to later shift course after the publication of photos showing one of Porter's ex-wives with a black eye.

White House staff secretary Rob Porter, a member of President Donald Trump's inner circle and arguably Kelly's closest aide, cleaned out his desk on Thursday.

Jennifer Willoughby
Jennie Willoughby. Screenshot via CNN

Kelly, who according to reports, learned of the allegations against Porter months ago when he failed to pass an Federal Bureau of Investigation background check for a security clearance, lauded him as "a man of true integrity and honor" on Tuesday.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), in response to that comment, said if Trump is so concerned about due process, Congress should hold hearings on the multiple allegations of sexual assault against the President. (Axios reported Kelly says Porter downplayed what the story would be about.) Porter also says that some senior White House officials urged him to "stay and fight".

Trump also told reporters on Friday that Porter's departure was "very sad" and that "he did a very good job while he was in the White House", but he did not express sympathy for the women Porter allegedly abused, instead focusing on Porter's claim of innocence.

Many seized on the tweet as another instance of Trump defending men accused of sexual misconduct and violence, citing Senate candidate Roy Moore and former Fox News host Bill O'Reilly as past examples.

It isn't just Trump officials who have come to Kelly's defense, however.

"For the president and the chief of staff to give that person the benefit of the doubt is probably a very normal and human reaction", he said.

However, Conway told CNN anchor Jake Tapper that Kelly's job is not in jeopardy.

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