Why is this bad, even if you don't care about violence against women? Because blackmail risk.🤷
Both of Rob Porter's former wives talked to the FBI about his behavior months ago, but he was placed in the Trump White House and granted a security clearance anyway because fuck everything, nothing matters. One of these brave women provided the Washington Post with contact information for the agent who interviewed her. The FBI agent wouldn't comment. Both women became friends, and shared a connection over the abuse they survived.
Rob Porter, a senior White House official, resigned Wednesday after stories and photographs documenting the abuse were published. One showed a blackened eye and bruised face.
“He threw me down and punched me in the face,” Jennifer Willoughby wrote in this blog post about her experience:
The first time he called me a "fucking bitch" was on our honeymoon. (I found out years later he had kicked his first wife on theirs.) A month later he physically prevented me from leaving the house. Less than two months after that, I filed a protective order with the police because he punched in the glass on our front door while I was locked inside. We bought a house to make up for it. Just after our one year anniversary, he pulled me, naked and dripping, from the shower to yell at me.
Everyone loved him. People commented all the time how lucky I was. Strangers complimented him to me every time we went out. But in my home, the abuse was insidious. The threats were personal. The terror was real. And yet I stayed.
When I tried to get help, I was counseled to consider carefully how what I said might affect his career. And so I kept my mouth shut and stayed. I was told, yes, he was deeply flawed, but then again so was I. And so I worked on myself and stayed. If he was a monster all the time, perhaps it would have been easier to leave. But he could be kind and sensitive. And so I stayed. He cried and apologized. And so I stayed. He offered to get help and even went to a few counseling sessions and therapy groups. And so I stayed. He belittled my intelligence and destroyed my confidence. And so I stayed. I felt ashamed and trapped. And so I stayed. Friends and clergy didn't believe me. And so I stayed. I was pregnant. And so I stayed. I lost the pregnancy and became depressed. And so I stayed.
Abuse is indifferent to education level, socio-economic status, race, age, or gender. And no one can ever know the dynamics of another's relationship. My cycle continued for four more years. Afterward, I let go and welcomed the hard work of healing and forgiveness. My experience made me stronger and able to love more deeply. But my heart breaks for him. In the end, who is the real victim of his choices?
Willoughby says he was newly enraged and called her, furious, when he discovered her blog post.
She told WaPo she insisted that Porter take photos of her bruised eye after the assault and he agreed. “He was trying to make it up to me, and I said I wanted evidence if this should happen again.”
Porter denies everything, but resigned from the White House today anyway.
“These outrageous allegations are simply false. I took the photos given to the media nearly 15 years ago and the reality behind them is nowhere close to what is being described,” he said in a statement. “I have been transparent and truthful about these vile claims, but I will not further engage publicly with a coordinated smear campaign.”
From the Post story:
Willoughby and Holderness said they talked to the FBI about Porter twice last year, once in late January and then again months later. Willoughby provided the contact information for the FBI agent she spoke with, who declined to comment when reached Wednesday. Holderness said that when the FBI asked her whether Porter was vulnerable to blackmail, she answered affirmatively, because of the number of people aware of his abusive behavior.
“I thought by sharing my story with the FBI he wouldn’t be put in that post,” Holderness said. “I’m telling the FBI this is what he’s done, and Jennie Willoughby is telling them what he’s done, and the White House says, sure, this is okay? I was let down by that.”
Willoughby said Porter angrily called her when she wrote a blog post about him in April — without naming him — and asked her to remove it, concerned about his image. She said Porter demanded again in the fall that she take down the blog post, citing delays in his security clearance. In January, he asked her again to take it down, she said, telling her that reporters were looking into his past.
“He has never faced repercussions that forced him to confront his issues,” Willoughby said in an interview Wednesday at an Alexandria restaurant. “I care about him and want what’s best for him, but that doesn’t necessarily mean him keeping his job, because he needs to face these underlying issues.”
White House officials said early Wednesday that Porter could continue working for several weeks, but as the backlash grew Wednesday night, a senior White House official said he was expected to leave within 48 hours. Porter is an ally of Kelly, and in addition to serving as staff secretary, he oversaw and sought to streamline the White House’s policymaking process, working with Cabinet members and other agency officials and leading meetings about issues including immigration and trade. He played an integral role in crafting Trump’s State of the Union address last month.