Trump praises disgraced aide Porter

Donald Trump has praised former aide Rob Porter, who faces domestic violence allegations.
Donald Trump has praised former aide Rob Porter, who faces domestic violence allegations.

President Donald Trump has praised White House aide Rob Porter, who resigned this week after allegations that he abused two former wives, and stressed Porter maintained his innocence.

"He says he's innocent and I think you have to remember that. He said very strongly yesterday that he's innocent," Trump told reporters in the Oval Office.

Trump did not express sympathy for the two women who this week gave graphic accounts of the verbal and physical abuse they said they suffered while married to Porter, who resigned on Wednesday.

But he was supportive of his former staff secretary: "It's obviously a tough time for him. He did a very good job in the White House. And we hope he has a wonderful career.

"But we absolutely wish him well."

Later on Friday, the White House said a second Trump administration official had resigned over allegations of domestic abuse.

David Sorensen, a speechwriter who worked at the Council on Environmental Quality, quit after being confronted by White House officials.

The Washington Post reported on Friday that Sorensen's former wife claimed he was violent and emotionally abusive during their two-and-a-half-year marriage, accusations he denied.

Sorensen told the Post he stepped down because he "didn't want the White House to have to deal with this distraction".

Porter's departure has raised questions about how long it took Trump's team to act on the accusations, with White House Chief of Staff John Kelly taking the brunt of the blame.

He told reporters on Friday he was informed in November that Porter had allegations against him that were delaying his security clearance but he did not know the full extent until this week.

A source said Kelly had offered to resign but the White House denied that, with one official saying Kelly "is doing fine in terms of where he stands with the president".

Australian Associated Press