Vice President Mike Pence thinks the White House could have done a better job of handling the Rob Porter domestic abuse scandal but stands by White House chief of staff Gen. John Kelly.
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“Well, this administration has no tolerance for domestic violence, nor should any American. As I said, and as the White House has said, I think the White House could have handled this better. I still feel that way,” Pence said.
“That being said, any more counsel I have on this, I’ll share with the president of the United States.”
Pence’s comment came as it emerged that Porter was up for promotion to be Kelly’s deputy chief of staff – one of the top jobs in the West Wing – before he resigned, two White House officials familiar with the matter confirm to ABC News.
The allegations against Porter by his ex-wives have sparked a firestorm and raised questions about when White House officials knew about them. Testimony from the FBI director appeared to contradict the White House account of when Porter’s background check was completed. Porter has denied the accusations.
Pence was interviewed by Axios’ Mike Allen Wednesday in Washington and was asked specifically about Kelly’s handling of the scandal. When the allegations first surfaced in an article in the Daily Mail, Kelly called Porter a “a man of true integrity and honor,” but did not make mention of the victims.
Pence wouldn’t directly answer the question but praised Kelly’s service.
“There are very few Americans or American families that have served this nation more honorably or have sacrificed more for this country than the family of General John Kelly,” said Pence. “His distinguished service as Chief of Staff gives me and the president great confidence in this man.
“John Kelly has done a remarkable job as chief of staff for the president and I look forward to continuing to work with him for many, many months to come.”
Additional reporting by Tara Palmeri