On Friday, after the media got wind of the Rob Porter story, which led to the deputy press secretary’s resignation following reports of domestic physical abuse, Trump’s Chief of Staff John Kelly held an emergency staff meeting.
In that meeting, according to senior officials who were there, Kelly told them to communicate a series of events that contradicted the Trump administration’s previous accounts. He wanted to portray a certain story to the press that made him look better.
Kelly reportedly learned of the abuse months ago but took no action, and even urged Porter to stay on the job a day after photographs of the abuse leaked.
Kelly instructed them to say that he “took immediate and direct action” to remove Porter within 40 minutes of learning about the allegations, but they knew that to not be true. He also told his subordinates that they needed to convey to people that he cares about domestic violence. The two officials then leaked the story to the Washington Post.
At around the same time of the leak, President Trump was reported by NBC News as being furious at Kelly for not being able to properly handle the abuse allegations made against Porter. He then began “openly musing” about potential replacements for the chief of staff job. Among the names, Trump is considering for his replacement, is Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney.
But, we’re not sure why Trump is entirely mad with Kelly, aside from the disclosure that he instructed staff members to lie. Trump himself has stood by Porter, even after the abuse photographs of his ex-wives were released, saying he wished him well in the private sector.
“He also, as you probably know, says he’s innocent, and I think you have to remember that,” Trump said, adding Porter did “very well” in the White House.