Despite the Trump administration “mishandling” the outing of former White House staffer Rob Porter as a documented domestic abuser, the erstwhile aide’s ex-wife says they’ve yet to apologize to her — or to fully understand the breadth of what he did to her and his first wife.
“It has been one month since the story became public of the abuse I suffered at the hands of my ex-husband, Rob Porter, along with accusations from his first wife, Colbie Holderness,” the former aide’s second ex-wife, Jennie Willoughby, wrote in a Washington Post op-ed published Friday. “Yet the White House has still not acknowledged our names or apologized to us for mishandling the situation.”
Last week, Willoughby wrote, White House chief of staff John Kelly “added insult to injury” when he quadrupled-down on his defense of Porter because he considered it nothing more than “the accusation of a messy divorce” that included “some level of emotional abuse.” Willoughby, he continued, “made no mention of any type of physical abuse.”
“I can barely contain my indignation,” she wrote.
Kelly’s statement was not only categorically false — Willoughby’s description of Porter dragging her from the shower and punching through glass in a fit of rage at her were in the initial stories about the abuse and were known to the FBI — but they also “serve to diminish the significance of emotional abuse,” she wrote.
“Granted, it is difficult for any outsider to understand what takes place in a marriage,” Willoughby continued. “But Kelly’s dismissive remarks about my having suffered only ’emotional abuse’ grossly understate the seriousness of this conduct and the trauma it inflicts.”
“The constant and repeated insulting, degrading, ignoring and undermining of someone’s intelligence, looks and choices is abuse,” she wrote. “So is persistent name-calling, lying and manipulation. This abuse represents an extreme and targeted form of bullying, one that damages the victim’s sense of self-worth and creates a fear of retaliation for standing up for oneself. It is insidious, demoralizing, paralyzing. It is real.”
Willoughby’s editorial about the effects of abuse on her and people who experience it at large comes just shy of a month after a similar editorial written by Holderness, Porter’s first wife whose black eye photos reportedly enraged both Donald and Ivanka Trump.