Trump Slammed for Defense of Alleged Wife-Beater; Truth Exists Whether Trump Accepts It, Ex-Wife Says

Rob Porter, Donald Trump
Former White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter (left) and President Donald Trump in an undated file photo. |

Jennie Willoughby, a former wife of ousted White House staff secretary Rob Porter, criticized President Donald Trump for praising her ex-husband and calling her accusation of domestic abuse "a mere allegation."

"... the President of the United States sat in the Oval Office and praised the work of my ex-husband, Rob Porter, and wished him future success," she writes in an article, published in the Time magazine. "When Donald Trump repeated twice that Rob declared his innocence, I was floored."

Willoughby, who was married to Porter from 2009 to 2013, continues, "What was his intent in emphasizing that point? My friend turned to me and said, 'The President of the United States just called you a liar.'"

"My experience of our entire marriage was being with a man who could be both charming and romantic and fun — and even thoughtful and kind; and horribly angry and manipulative," Willoughby told the Daily Mail earlier. "It was the duality of both of those things existing at the same time and not necessarily knowing what in his life would trigger the anger."

In an emergency protective order she filed in 2010, she wrote, "Rob was angered last night when I asked him to leave my apartment based on his violation of our private separation agreement. He would not leave for over 30 minutes claiming he had lost his keys. ... When he returned a few minutes later, he punched in the glass on the door. I called the police, afraid he would break in."

Willoughby, a writer and public speaker, mentions being abused in the "About Me" section of her personal website: "It was with miraculous faith that I survived a near drug-overdose and an abusive marriage."

Porter, who has denied the accusations, resigned Wednesday, and on Friday evening, David Sorensen, a member of the Trump administration's speechwriting team, resigned also due to accusations of domestic abuse.

Saturday morning, Trump tweeted, "Peoples lives are being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation. Some are true and some are false. Some are old and some are new. There is no recovery for someone falsely accused – life and career are gone. Is there no such thing any longer as Due Process?"

"The words 'mere allegation' and 'falsely accused' meant to imply that I am a liar," Willoughby writes. "That (Porter's first wife) Colbie Holderness is a liar. That the work Rob was doing in the White House was of higher value than our mental, emotional or physical wellbeing. That his professional contributions are worth more than the truth. That abuse is something to be questioned and doubted."

Holderness earlier shared with media pictures from a vacation she took together with Porter in Florence, Italy, which showed her black eye that she claimed was injured after Porter punched her in the face.

"He would get angry and throw me down on a soft surface — to his credit, it was always a soft surface like a couch or a bed — and he would lay on top of me shaking me, or rubbing an elbow or a knee into me," Holderness told the Intercept. "He graduated to choking me, not ever hard enough to make me pass out, or frankly to leave marks, but it was frightening and dehumanizing."

Trump's defense of Porter could hurt women in similar situations, Willoughby warned. "If the most powerful people in the nation do not believe my story of abuse in the face of overwhelming evidence, then what hope do others have of being heard?"

"I forgive him," Willoughby writes in her article in Time. "Thankfully, my strength and worth are not dependent on outside belief — the truth exists whether the President accepts it or not."

Willoughby and Holderness spoke to CNN about the role the Mormon church played in their relationships.

Willoughby said Mormon bishops discouraged her from seeking divorce. "One of the bishops worked with Porter and warned her that filing a protective order could harm her husband's career," CNN reported.

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