Rob Porter's ex-wife: "He will" abuse Hope Hicks

Jennie Willoughby told Anderson Cooper that Porter asked her to "downplay" the charges just a few days ago

Published February 9, 2018 1:44PM (EST)

Jennie Willoughby on CNN (YouTube)
Jennie Willoughby on CNN (YouTube)

Jennifer Willoughby, the ex-wife of the former White House staff secretary Rob Porter, reiterated her claims of domestic violence against her ex-husband in an interview with Anderson Cooper Thursday night on CNN.

Willoughby told Cooper that Porter asked her to "downplay" the charges when he contacted her several days ago. "I went back and forth with him for an hour on what language I would be comfortable with, and ultimately, the language that he asked, I wasn't comfortable with," she said.

Willoughby also told Cooper that she doesn't think Porter has changed and that she's concerned about Hope Hicks, the White House communications director, who is said to be romantically involved with Porter. Speaking about Porter's relationship with Hicks, she said, "It worries me for a lot of reasons . . . if he hasn't already been abusive with Hope, he will."

Willoughby detailed her abusive relationship in a blog post published April 24, 2017, which she said Porter asked her to take down. Though Willoughby did not name Porter in the post, she has confirmed that the article was written about her marriage to the White House staff secretary.

Willoughby wrote, "The first time he called me a ‘fucking bitch’ was on our honeymoon." She said, "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." Their marriage ended in 2013. 

Porter resigned Wednesday, February 7, after allegations resurfaced that he physically assaulted his two ex-wives. The New York Times and Politico claim Porter has been a powerful figure in the White House, working alongside Chief of Staff John Kelly to determine what information makes it to the President Donald Trump's desk.

As late as one year after his employment at the White House began, Porter was still working under an interim security clearance, as his background check was still ongoing. Both of his ex-wives had been contacted by the FBI during the background interviews for Porter's security clearance, and had revealed to the law enforcement agency that Porter had been violence during their marriages. That information apparently traveled up the chain to Kelly, who reportedly dismissed the issue. Following a firestorm of criticism, Trump is already contemplating replacements for his chief of staff, reports say.

By Shira Tarlo

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Related Topics ------------------------------------------

Domestic Abuse Hope Hicks Jennie Willoughby John Kelly John Porter News Politics White House