White House Communications Director Hope Hicks and former staff secretary Rob Porter are no longer dating, according to two sources with direct knowledge of the bygone relationship’s status.
One person close to Hicks told DailyMail.com on Wednesday that the dating came to an end after Porter resigned last week when his two ex-wives came forward to accuse him of abuse.
The revelations by DailyMail.com have set of a crisis in the White House over the handling of Porter’s past.
The pair were on their way to becoming a bona fide Washington power couple, as two of President Donald Trump’s most trusted and closest aides.
But their falling out was seen as inevitable, one West Wing aide said Wednesday, after Porter’s two ex-wives accused him of spousal abuse.
‘Hope is smarter than some people give her credit for,’ the White House official said.
‘She’s an incredibly strong woman, independent-minded, and a tireless supporter of President Trump.’
A second person close to Hicks confirmed Wednesday that she and Porter had gone their separate ways.
It is so far unknown who ended the relationship.
DailyMail.com first reported less than two weeks ago that the couple became an item in November.
That revelation led to an avalanche of controversy as Porter’s former spouses shared their stories with DailyMail.com, and then with other news outlets.
The result has become a powerful object lesson in the emotional scars battered women can carry with them long after their abusive relationships end.
It has also brought about a sense of national outrage about how the White House grants security clearances to aides who have access to classified information.
Porter had been working at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue on a temporary clearance, as are dozens of other political appointees in the White House complex.
When DailyMail.com first confronted the White House eight days ago with an account from Porter’s second wife, the West Wing went into a frenzy of activity – until publication of his first wife’s gruesome black-eye photos led to his eventual exit.
In the intervening hours, Hicks herself was involved in some of the deliberations about whether and how to defend her then-boyfriend.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters cryptically on Tuesday that Hicks ‘was not part of a lot of the conversations that took place.’
‘I don’t recall any of you being in the room,’ Sanders snarked, ‘to be able to say specifically what comments she made or didn’t make.’
Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway expressed her support for Hicks on Wednesday, and referred DailyMail.com to her remarks three days earlier on CNN.
Amid fears that Porter’s past could become Hicks’ present, Conway declared on CNN’s ‘State of the Union’ program: ‘I don’t worry about her in that respect.’
‘In the case of Hope, I have rarely met somebody so strong with such excellent – excellent – instincts and loyalty and smarts,’ she added.
‘I didn’t have the presence of mind and the professional capabilities at her age that I see in her every single day.’
Conway said Hicks had ‘a great support system around her’ including West Wing colleagues, along with a big advocate in the Oval Office
‘Hope is absolutely fantastic,’ President Trump said Saturday through a spokesperson.
‘She was with the campaign from the beginning, and I could not ask for anything more. Hope is smart, very talented and respected by all.’
Trump declared Wednesday in the wake of the Porter crisis that he is ‘totally opposed to domestic violence of any kind.’
‘Everyone knows that,’ Trump told reporters, ‘and it almost wouldn’t even have to be said.’
But with support for Chief of Staff John Kelly waning inside the White House, Trump continued on Wednesday to miss easy opportunities to give the retired Marine Corps general his public backing.
‘Did your staff handle the [Rob] Porter allegations properly?’ one reporter asked him following a planned event to tout his infrastructure plans. ‘Is General Kelly’s job safe?’ another shouted.
The president sat stone-faced, uttering an occasional ‘thank you’ while his press aides shooed journalists and cameramen out of the Cabinet Room.