This morning, we reported on a New York Times story about President Trump considering replacements for General John Kelly, the current White House Chief of Staff.
Kelly has become entrapped in the scandal revolving around Rob Porter, the former White House Staff Secretary who was pushed out of the West Wing this week after it became apparent that he abused two of his ex-wives.
The story coming out of the White House is that Kelly initially heard of Porter’s abusive past, but had seen no evidence of it, and didn’t consider it to be that extreme. After Porter’s two former wives went public with their stories, providing photographic evidence of the horrifying physical violence they suffered at the hands of their spouse, Kelly quickly changed his tune.
Raj Shah says John Kelly “had not seen images” prior to initial statement defending Rob Porter, but does not say whether Kelly knew of domestic violence allegations. https://t.co/DNE9hD94Q2 pic.twitter.com/memvFpyxV2
— ABC News (@ABC) February 8, 2018
Now, we’re learning that Kelly’s initial statement might not have been entirely truthful. There are many holes in his story, and his credibility is draining right out of them, like tainted water through a colander.
FBI’s preliminary report on the abuse allegations against Porter first reached the White House in June, CBS’s @ArdenFarhi reports.
After getting a call from a Porter ex-girlfriend, WH Counsel informed Kelly in November that he faced allegations.
Porter denied them.
— Steven Portnoy (@stevenportnoy) February 9, 2018
Politico is reporting that Kelly knew Porter would be denied security clearance before the abuse allegations surfaced. This is leading many to speculate that he knew the severity of Porter’s actions, and failed to act on it.
White House chief of staff John Kelly was told several weeks ago that the FBI would deny full security clearances to multiple White House aides who had been working in the West Wing on interim security clearances.
Those aides, according to a senior administration official, included former White House staff secretary Rob Porter, who left the White House on Thursday after reports that he physically and verbally abused his two ex-wives.
To make matters worse, Kelly has a history of defending abusers:
Good catch by @peterbakernyt and @maggieNYT: John Kelly “appeared as a character witness in a 2016 court-martial of a Marine colonel accused of sexually harassing two female subordinates. Mr. Kelly praised the colonel as a ‘superb Marine officer.'” https://t.co/X2pM1QrdTv
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) February 9, 2018
In the case of this particular Marine, the man was later arrested for “indecent liberties with a child” https://t.co/QYv7x13Jgr
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) February 9, 2018
This is truly loathsome behavior. And it looks bad for Kelly – really bad.
Which leads to President Trump’s current dilemma: To keep Kelly, or to can Kelly. That is the question.
What do you think? Will President Trump fire John Kelly? Tell us your thoughts below!