President Trump has expressed how “very sad” he is about the domestic abuse allegations against recently resigned Staff Secretary Rob Porter. Meanwhile, the heat is on Chief of Staff John Kelly, who reportedly knew about the allegations for months (despite what Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah told reporters on Thursday) and may have shielded the aide.
On Thursday night, Kelly issued a memo to staff about how the White House “take[s] matters of domestic violence seriously,” but it might not be enough to save him. The New York Times now reports that Kelly has told West Wing officials that he’s ready to resign over criticism of how he handled the abuse allegations, which have now blossomed into a full-on scandal. However, Kelly has not tendered a resignation offer as of yet:
The officials emphasized that they did not consider a resignation imminent, and that Mr. Kelly — a retired four-star Marine general who early in his tenure often used a threat of quitting as a way to temper President Trump’s behavior — had made no formal offer.
But his suggestion that he would be willing to step down if the president wanted him to reflected the degree to which the scandal surrounding Mr. Porter has engulfed the White House.
CNN reports that White House staff morale is low regarding the swirling reports of how Kelly and White House Counsel Don McGahn apparently protected Porter, and certainly, it looks like Trump is still protecting him from what he told the press pool in the Oval Office on Friday. Meanwhile, ABC News adds that Trump is “furious” over how Kelly handled this and is already reportedly digging around for a replacement.
Will Trump really be looking for third chief of staff, a mere year into his presidency? We’ll likely soon find out.