An ex-wife of former White House aide Rob Porter has issued a stern warning to his girlfriend, President Trump's communications director Hope Hicks, urging her to be careful.
“If he hasn’t already been abusive with Hope, he will,” Jennie Willoughby told Anderson Cooper on CNN Thursday night. “Particularly now that he’s under a lot of stress and scrutiny. That’s when the behaviors come out, and if he hasn’t already he will."
Willoughby has launched a TV campaign, appearing on CNN and the Today show, to expose his alleged pattern of domestic violence.
“I don’t think that he has really taken the time to deconstruct why it is that he behaves this way, and until he is able to do that, I don’t know that he has control over it,” she told Cooper.
Porter resigned under pressure Wednesday after his two ex-wives alleged that he beat them. He is currently dating Hicks, 29, a former model.
President Trump made his first comments about the scandal from The Oval Office Friday.
"I found out about it recently and I was surprised by it," Trump said. "We certainly wish him well. It's obviously a very tough time for him. He did a very good job while he was in the White House."
Trump added: "We hope that he will have a wonderful career. It was very sad when we heard about it... and as you probably know, he says he's innocent and I think you have to remember that."
Hicks was present as Trump made the controversial remarks.
Fallout from the president's defense of Porter was swift with many taking to social media to denounce Trump’s remarks because he did not bring up the ex-wives accusing Porter of abuse.
What the president is trying to say is that there were very fine people on both sides of that vase that went into Rob Porter’s ex-wife’s face. — Chris Hayes (@chrislhayes) February 9, 2018
My #FridayFeeling is this is not going to end well for John Kelly. He apparently:
-Knew Porter couldn't get security clearance due to domestic violence
-Praised Porter after article on domestic violence
-Urged Porter to stay after photos of abuse released
-Now lying about it https://t.co/uwiWvtGPmp — Ted Lieu (@tedlieu) February 9, 2018
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. Document it. Save the photo.
That’s what made the difference.
That’s what made it undeniable. — Ana Navarro (@ananavarro) February 9, 2018
Hey @realDonaldTrump, super-courageous statements about Porter today. You're right -- he's going through a hard time and he needs our all our support. https://t.co/58Nw396SHe — Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) February 9, 2018
On a blog post titled "Why I Stayed," Willoughby wrote, "The first time he called me a 'f***ing bitch' was on our honeymoon."
Now the blog is inspiring an outpouring from people who say #MeToo.
"OMG, your story is mine also,” one woman commented. “For 19 years. Yes, we stay, and we hurt, and we try.”
Porter has denied the allegations of domestic abuse and says he is the victim of a smear campaign.
Questions are also being asked about Chief of Staff John Kelly, who sources say was aware Porter would never get security clearance due an order of protection taken out against him.
It’s not clear whether Kelly was aware of the specifics of what Porter's ex-spouses reported to the FBI regarding his alleged patterns of abuse.
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