President Donald Trump’s speechwriter David Sorensen has become the second White House aide this week to resign amid allegations of domestic abuse.
However, David Sorensen denies his ex-wife’s allegations he was violent and emotionally abusive.
David Sorensen’s departure comes just days after another Trump top aide, Rob Porter, quit over allegations of abuse from two ex-wives, something he denies.
Questions have been raised over how long it took the White House to act on the accusations facing Rob Porter.
Jessica Corbett, David Sorensen’s ex-wife, told the Washington Post that he was physically abusive to her while they were married.
She said that on separate occasions David Sorensen ran a car over her foot, threw her against a wall and extinguished a cigarette on her hand.
In response, her former husband released a statement in which he said he had “never committed violence of any kind against any woman in my entire life” and that instead it was he who had been physically abused.
David Sorensen said he was considering legal action, but said he quit because he “didn’t want the White House to have to deal with this distraction”.
White House officials said they learned of the accusations by David Sorensen’s wife on February 8.
Deputy press secretary Raj Shah said: “We immediately confronted the staffer, he denied the allegations and he resigned today.”
Allegations of domestic abuse against Rob Porter involving two ex-wives surfaced on February 6.
It is alleged that the former White House staff secretary gave one ex-wife a black eye while another filed a restraining order. He denies the allegations.
On February 9, President Trump paid tribute to Rob Porter, who quit his White House position on February 7.
Speaking in the Oval Office President Trump said: “We found out about it recently and I was surprised by it, but we certainly wish him well and it’s a tough time for him.”
However, the president did not refer to Rob Porter’s accusers.
Donald Trump’s comments sparked criticism from Democrats, with former VP Joe Biden saying the president had downplayed the allegations against Rob Porter.
Joe Biden said: “That’s like saying: <<That axe murderer out there, he’s a great painter>>.”
The case has put pressure on President Trump’s Chief-of-Staff John Kelly, who has denied reports he offered to resign over his handling of the accusations.
After initially praising Rob Porter as a man of “integrity”, John Kelly later released a statement saying he was shocked by the claims and stressed domestic violence was unacceptable.
According to media reports, John Kelly and other White House officials were aware for several months of the domestic abuse accusations because they were holding up Rob Porter’s security clearance application.
Raj Shah said that President Trump was not aware of any security issues before February 6 and was “disheartened” and “saddened” by the accusations.
White House communications director Hope Hicks’ handling of the controversy has also reportedly displeased President Trump.
Hope Hicks, 29, has recently been in a relationship with Rob Porter, a Harvard graduate and former Oxford Rhodes Scholar.
President Trump was reportedly not consulted when Hope Hicks helped draft an initial statement defending Rob Porter.
According to CBS News, Rob Porter approached White House Counsel Don McGahn in January 2017 to inform him his ex-wives might say unflattering things about him to background check investigators.
In June 2017, Rob Porter’s preliminary file was sent from the FBI to the White House security office, containing the abuse allegations.
In November, Don McGahn received a call from an ex-girlfriend of Rob Porter alleging physical violence by the aide.
Don McGahn told the White House chief of staff there was an issue with Rob Porter’s security clearance, although he was vague, reports CBS.
Rob Porter told John Kelly his ex-wives were saying false things about him.
A White House spokesman said on February 8 that John Kelly did not realize the extent of the claims until a photo of one of Rob Porter’s former wives, Colbie Holderness, suffering a black eye, emerged on February 7.