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Tuesday
Feb132018

Rob Porter's first wife responds to Kellyanne Conway's domestic violence comments in new op-ed

ABCNews.com(WASHINGTON) -- Colbie Holderness, the first wife of now ex-White House aide Rob Porter, has written an op-ed in Tuesday's Washington Post saying she is "dismayed" by Kellyanne Conway's recent comments about Porter and herself.

Porter, who served as White House staff secretary until resigning last week, has been accused of domestic violence by both his first and second wives.

Holderness took issue with an interview Conway, a White House adviser, gave to CNN in which Conway said that she doesn't worry about Porter's current girlfriend, White House Communications Director Hope Hicks, because she is "so strong with such excellent instincts."

"Her statement implies that those who have been in abusive relationships are not strong," Holderness writes. "Recognizing and surviving in an abusive relationship take strength."

Holderness also criticized White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, who on Monday would only say the president takes "domestic violence very seriously" when asked if Trump believed Porter's ex-wives.

"While I cannot say I am surprised, I expected a woman to do better," Holderness wrote.

Holderness' column echoes a similar one written by Porter's second wife, Jennifer Willoughby, in TIME magazine this weekend in which she claims President Donald Trump is downplaying the allegations of abuse. Trump lamented Porter's "shattered" life over a "mere allegation" in a tweet on Saturday.

"The truth exists whether the President accepts it or not," she wrote.

Willoughby has also said she is scared for Hicks, commenting in a CNN interview last week that "if he hasn't already been abusive with Hope, he will."

Holderness released a decade-old photo of herself with a black eye last week she says was caused by Porter punching her.

Hours after allegations of domestic abuse against Porter came to light — including the photo of Holderness with a black eye — Porter sought to downplay the narrative, instead offering stories of household mishaps and minor squabbles, two sources with knowledge of his account told ABC News on Monday.

"For me, living in constant fear of Rob’s anger and being subjected to his degrading tirades for years chipped away at my independence and sense of self-worth," Holderness wrote in the Washington Post. "I walked away from that relationship a shell of the person I was when I went into it, but it took me a long time to realize the toll that his behavior was taking on me. (Rob has denied the abuse, but Willoughby and I know what happened.)"

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