February 09, 2018
WASHINGTON — President Trump said Friday he was surprised by allegations of domestic violence against his staff secretary that forced the top aide to resign this week — but lauded the work Rob Porter did and noted that that he has maintained his innocence.

"We found out about it recently and I was surprised by it, but we certainly wish him well and it's a tough time for him," Trump said. "He did a very good job when he was in the White House."
Trump's comments Friday were the first time the president has spoken publicly about the top aide since the allegations surfaced Wednesday in a report in the British tabloid The Daily Mail.
Trump said he was saddened by the allegations but said Porter has denied the accusations.
"He also, as you probably know, says he's innocent and I think you have to remember that," Trump said in an told reporters in the Oval Office in an unscheduled photo-op. "He said very strongly yesterday that he's innocent so you have to talk to him about that, but we absolutely wish him well, he did a very good job when he was at the White House."
Those pleas of innocence come despite public accusations by two ex-wives — one of whom produced photos of a black eye she said Porter gave her while in Italy. In a written statement sent through the White House press office Wednesday, Porter said he took those photos, but that "the reality behind them is nowhere close to what is being described," he said. He did not elaborate.
The staff secretary is one of a small circle of top aides to the president, controlling the information flow into and out of the Oval Office — including some of the most classified and sensitive documents the president sees. Like all White House jobs, the position requires a security clearance.
The episode has raised questions about who in the White House knew of the issue, and whether presidential aides have been properly vetted. Both ex-wives have said they told FBI agents of the incidents during their background check investigation, but Porter was allowed to remain on the job with a temporary clearance for more than a year.
Trump avoided those questions on Friday.
"We hope he has a wonderful career and he will have a great career ahead of him," Trump said of the 40-year-old aide. "He did a very good job when he was at the White House."
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