A White House speechwriter has resigned over domestic abuse claims, the second such departure this week, amid a widening scandal that has called into question US President Donald Trump’s judgment.
David Sorensen resigned Friday after his ex-wife Jessica Corbett, told The Washington Post that Sorensen had physically and emotionally abused her during their two-and-a-half-year marriage.
Corbett told the newspaper that Sorensen ran a car over her foot, extinguished a cigarette on her hand, threw her into a wall and grabbed her by her hair, but that she did not report the incidents due to her then-husband’s connections to law enforcement.
Sorensen has denied the allegations and claimed that he was abused by her.
“Before we were contacted by the media, we learned last night that there were allegations,” White House deputy press secretary Raj Shah said in a statement Friday. “We immediately confronted the staffer, he denied the allegations and he resigned today.”
The announcement came just two days after Trump’s staff secretary Rob Porter resigned after domestic abuse allegations were made public by his two former wives.
In an interview with CNN, Porter’s second ex-wife Jennifer Willoughby detailed allegations of abuse, saying that during her marriage she lived under a “low-grade constant terror of not knowing what I might do to set something off.”
Porter, who also denies abuse allegations, worked at the heart of the White House throughout the first year of Trump’s administration. He only stepped down from his post on Wednesday after the accusations became public.
Trump, who has himself been accused of sexual assault and harassment by about two dozen women, fueled the scandal by praising Porter and suggesting he had a bright future.
“He did a very good job when he was in the White House. And we hope he has a wonderful career and he will have a great career ahead of him,” Trump said in the Oval Office.
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly was aware of the allegations and also praised Porter’s performance in the White House, maintaining that “every individual deserves the right to defend their reputation.”
Trump and “many” White House staffers are irritated at Kelly’s support for Porter’s character and for falsely insisting that he aggressively sought to have him fired once the abuse allegations surfaced, according to The New York Times.
Trump was elected promising to bring “the best people” with him to the White House to “drain the swamp” in Washington.
But in reality, Trump has struggled to hire high-quality staff, with many experienced political operatives in Washington refusing to join his administration.