GOP senator reams John Kelly for defending alleged wife beater: 'You can't beat the hell out of your spouse'
Retired General John Kelly has been confirmed as Secretary of Homeland Security, a sprawling department responsible for everything from domestic antiterrorism to border security and disaster prevention. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) on Thursday slammed White House Chief of Staff John Kelly for making a "bad decision" when he defended a staffer who is accused of beating multiple wives.


During an interview on CNN, host John Berman asked Kennedy if he is troubled by reports that Kelly knew that one of his aides, staff secretary Rob Porter, had been accused of domestic abuse but did not fire him. Porter later submitted his resignation after the charges became public.

Kennedy agreed that the allegations "appear to be the truth."

"If you want to serve the public, particularly as a member of the president's staff, I don't care who you are," the Louisiana Republican continued. "Even if you are a Rhodes Scholar, you can't beat the hell out of your spouse. It's wrong."

Berman pointed out that Kelly had initially defended Porter, calling him a "man of honor and integrity." But in a subsequent statement, the chief of staff insisted that he had been "shocked" by the allegations of domestic abuse.

Kennedy praised the job Kelly has done as chief of staff but concluded that defending Porter was a "bad decision." The senator stopped short of calling on Kelly to step down.

Watch the video below from CNN.