Domestic violence accusations swirl around White House aides

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WASHINGTON -

President Donald Trump is praising a former top aide who resigned following allegations of domestic abuse, and critics are calling for White House Chief of Staff John Kelly to resign.

"We wish him well," Trump said of former staffer Rob Porter. "He worked very hard."

Porter resigned this week after allegations emerged that he abused two of his ex-wives.

The president expressed sorrow for Porter but made no mention of either of his former wives, both of whom say they suffered through abusive marriages.

"It was very sad when we heard about it, and certainly he is also very sad," Trump said. "He also, as you probably know, he says he's innocent. And I think you have to remember that."

Anthony Zenkus, of the Victims Information Bureau of Suffolk, says the president's response follows a pattern of powerful men protecting other men. He draws a parallel to Babylon Town Supervisor Rich Schaffer's recent decision to hire former town board member Lindsey Henry as a part-time assistant town attorney -- even though Henry was arrested and charged with beating his girlfriend in September.

"In either of those cases, a man was hired knowing that he may have committed acts of domestic violence," Zenkus says. "It doesn't seem to be the rational and prudent thing to do."

Meanwhile, political consultant Michael Dawidziak says the president's comments should not come as a surprise.

"This president has shown over and over again that he says what's on his mind, without necessarily thinking it through," he says. "He just doesn't care. He's not thinking about how his remarks might be taken by this particular person or that particular person."

Also Friday night, the White House confirmed that a second staffer is leaving his post amid domestic violence accusations. Speechwriter David Sorensen resigned after his ex-wife claimed he was violent and emotionally abusive during their marriage.

Porter and Sorensen both deny the allegations.

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