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Published: Thursday, February 08, 2018 @ 10:20 PM
Updated: Friday, February 09, 2018 @ 6:29 PM
WASHINGTON, D.C. —
UPDATE: The White House announced Friday that Derek Lyons will replace former Staff Secretary Rob Porter on an interim basis.
Read the original report below.
White House says Rob Porter’s replacement will be Derek Lyons, who will serve as Acting White House Staff Secretary. Lyons has been serving as Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy White House Staff Secretary.— Eamon Javers (@EamonJavers) February 9, 2018
Deputy White House Press Secretary Raj Shah admitted Thursday during the administration’s daily press briefing that White House officials “could have done better” in how they handled abuse allegations against former Staff Secretary Rob Porter.
"I think it's fair to say we all could have done better dealing with this over the last few days," Shah said.
Porter resigned Wednesday and quickly left the White House Thursday after domestic abuse allegations by his two ex-wives surfaced in a British tabloid. Porter has denied the claims.
White House officials first defended Porter in the immediate aftermath of the allegations on Monday and Tuesday.
"Rob Porter is a man of true integrity and honor and I can't say enough good things about him,” White House Chief of Staff John Kelly said in a statement Tuesday. “He is a friend, a confidante and a trusted professional. I am proud to serve alongside him.”
Then a photo of one of Porter’s ex-wives with a black eye was released Wednesday in addition to the British tabloid story published on Monday and Tuesday in The Daily Mail, and Kelly seemed to walk back his comments about Porter.
By Wednesday night, Kelly released a second statement, amid reports that administration officials kept Porter on the job despite being aware of the alleged abuse. Porter’s first wife, Colbie Holderness, and his second, Jennifer Willoughby, told CNN they were contacted by the FBI last year while Porter was applying for a security clearance to work at the White House. At least one of the women told the FBI about the alleged domestic violence, according to CNN.
“I was shocked by the new allegations released today against Rob Porter. There is no place for domestic violence in our society,” Kelly said Wednesday night. “I stand by my previous comments of the Rob Porter that I have come to know since becoming chief of staff, and believe every individual deserves the right to defend their reputation.”
Shah, trying to clean up the mess Thursday during his first turn at the briefing podium, would not confirm if Kelly knew about the allegations before this week and, if so, for how long. But critics insist Kelly must have known something because Porter never received full security clearance -- only a temporary clearance, an unusual situation for an aide inside the president’s inner circle.
Trump is griping about Kelly to...Priebus, as the CoS endures his toughest week on the job https://t.co/gTIAzkvja6— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) February 9, 2018
"He became fully aware of these allegations yesterday," Shah said of Kelly, later adding that he had "not seen images prior to the statement on Tuesday night," referring to the picture of one of Porter’s ex-wives with a black eye.
Shah defended the administration, claiming it wasn’t the photographic evidence of the alleged abuse that changed Trump officials’ tone toward Porter.
“We do take allegations of misconduct, of domestic violence, other issues like that very seriously,” he said. “In this instance, in the case of Rob Porter, we relied on the background check investigative process. That process hadn't been completed. We're relying on the information that we had.”
Holderness told The Daily Mail that Porter was verbally abusive throughout their relationship, which started in 2000, but that things escalated after they wed in June 2003. She said Porter kicked her during their honeymoon and, during a 2005 vacation in Italy, punched her in the face.
White House chief of staff John Kelly is facing stiff blowback as he contends with another embarrassing staffing scandal, though there's no indication his own job is at immediate risk, sources say https://t.co/XzgthvEOA6 pic.twitter.com/CoQFks8oAJ— CNN International (@cnni) February 9, 2018
Willoughby, who married Porter in November 2009 and separated from him in early 2010, told The Daily Mail that Porter was verbally abusive.
Willoughby obtained a protective order against Porter in June 2010 after she said he violated their separation agreement and refused to leave her apartment, according to court records obtained by The Daily Mail. In the complaint, Willoughby said Porter punched in a glass door while she was locked inside the apartment, but left after he heard she was on the phone with police.
She told the Mail that in December 2010, he dragged her out of a shower while she was naked in order to yell at her.
The couple was divorced in 2013.
Porter, 40, is a former chief of ctaff for Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, a Harvard graduate and a former Rhodes Scholar.
Sen. Jon Tester on allegations of abuse against outgoing White House staff secretary Rob Porter: "If John Kelly is covering this up, he needs to be held accountable, no if, ands or buts about it" https://t.co/d7XjQuk0Bm— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) February 8, 2018
Published: Sunday, May 27, 2018 @ 10:31 AM
Updated: Sunday, May 27, 2018 @ 10:31 AM
— Tropical storm warnings are up across Florida and along parts of the Gulf Coast as Subtropical Storm Alberto lumbers across the Gulf of Mexico ruining Memorial Day holiday plans for thousands of vacationers.
Update May 27, 2018 5:05 p.m. EDT: Subtropical Storm Alberto continues to move north, north west with no change in strength.
The Tropical Storm Warning along the west coast of Florida south of the Anclote River has ended, according to the National Hurricane Center.
The Storm Surge Warning for the northern Gulf Coast of west of Navarre, Florida has ended.
Update May 27, 2018 11 a.m. EDT: Subtropical Storm Alberto is strengthening with wind speeds clocked at 50 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center, or NHC. The storm is moving north at 14 mph and it’s located about 130 miles southwest of Tampa.
Isolated tornadoes are possible as Alberto closes in on the region. Forecasters are predicting Alberto will make landfall sometime late Sunday or Monday, bringing gusty winds, heavy rain, flash flooding and storm surge to parts of the Gulf Coast.
“Alberto is expected to produce heavy rainfall with a risk of flooding and flash flooding over western Cuba, the Florida Keys and south Florida today. The risk for heavy rainfall and flooding will then spread over much of the southeast U.S. tonight and Monday,” according to the NHC.
The NHC is warning of “dangerous surf and rip current conditions” along parts of the eastern and northern Gulf Coast through Monday.
A tropical storm warning has been issued for parts of the Florida Gulf Coast including from Bonita Beach to the Anclote River as well as north near the Aucilla River to the Mississippi/Alabama border, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
A tropical storm warning means tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area.
Heavy rainfall is expected as the storm, with sustained winds of 40 mph, continues to move at 13 mph through the Dry Tortugas.
A storm surge watch has also been issued for parts of Florida and the Mississippi/Alabama border, officials said.
Published: Sunday, May 27, 2018 @ 2:28 PM
— Former President George H.W. Bush is back in the hospital, according to a family spokesman.
Bush was taken to Southern Maine Health Care Sunday “after experiencing low blood pressure and fatigue,” his spokesman Jim McGrath said on Twitter.
The former president is described as “awake and alert” and will probably remain hospitalized for a few days for observation, McGrath said.
President @GeorgeHWBush was taken to Southern Maine Health Care (@SMHCHealth) today after experiencing low blood pressure and fatigue. He will likely remain there for a few days for observation. The former president is awake and alert, and not in any discomfort.— Jim McGrath (@jgm41) May 27, 2018
Bush was most recently hospitalized in Houston on April 22, one day after the funeral and burial of his wife of 73 years, Barbara Bush.
During that hospital stay, he was diagnosed with an infection that had spread to his blood, doctors said at the time, but he recovered and eventually went home.
At the time he said he was looking forward to visiting the family’s compound in Kennebunkport, Maine.
Bush was out and about Saturday, marking the Memorial Day holiday, joining a group of veterans at American Legion Post 159 for a pancake breakfast in Kennebunkport.
“Delighted to join the veterans, including my dear friend Gen. Brent Scowcroft,” Bush tweeted.
Delighted to join the veterans, including my dear friend Gen. Brent Scowcroft, at the @AmericanLegion Post 159 monthly pancake breakfast in Kennebunkport today. This weekend we remember, and thank, all who have given their lives for our great country. pic.twitter.com/VQgfPmt5rw— George Bush (@GeorgeHWBush) May 26, 2018
Scowcroft was National Security Adviser during the presidencies of both Bush and Gerald Ford.
“This weekend we remember, and thank, all who have given their lives for our great country,” he said Saturday.
George Bush has a form of Parkinson's disease and uses a motorized scooter or wheelchair to get around.
He was the youngest naval aviator when he enlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve in 1943, spurred by the attack on Pearl Harbor.
He flew 58 combat missions during World War II and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for his bravery.
He had six children with Barbara Bush, and in 1989, he became the first sitting vice president to secure the presidency since 1837.
Published: Sunday, May 27, 2018 @ 2:35 AM
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — A 12-year-old boy was bitten on the foot by something, possibly a shark, while bathing on Daytona Beach, Fla., Saturday afternoon, Volusia County Beach Safety officials said.
The Gainesville boy was standing in waist-deep water around 2 p.m. at a beach when something bit him on the foot, “presumably a shark,” officials said.
The boy’s injury was minor, officials said, but he was transported to a nearby hospital as a precaution.
Published: Sunday, May 27, 2018 @ 4:08 PM
Atlanta-based Delta has been preparing for months for the Tuesday launch of the new uniforms.
Posen will make an appearance at New York’s LaGuardia Airport on Monday afternoon, around the same time that the first crew wearing the new uniforms for the debut will take off in Singapore for a flight to Tokyo. By that time, it will be early Tuesday morning in Singapore.
Posen will then appear at a Delta fashion show at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport early Tuesday morning in Atlanta, as employees don the new uniforms on flights and at airports across the carrier’s operations.
Delta Air Lines Preps for Switch to Snazzy Zac Posen-Designed Uniforms— Autumn Roger (@rogerautumnqa) May 27, 2018
Delta Air Lines soon will introduce new uniforms designed by Zac Posen and made by Lands End.
Skift Take: With Virgin America out of business, Delta Air Lines must be the hippest U.… https://t.co/2jyeeexlAg