White House speechwriter David Sorensen resigned Friday after being accused of physical and emotional abuse by his ex-wife.
“Before we were contacted by the media, we learned last night that there were allegations. We immediately confronted the staffer, he denied the allegations and he resigned today,” said White House spokesman Raj Shah in a statement Friday.
Sorensen is the second White House official to resign this week over domestic abuse allegations. On Thursday, White House staff secretary Rob Porter stepped down after reports emerged that he was accused of abuse by his two ex-wives.
Sorensen’s former wife, Jessica Corbett, told The Washington Post about several violent episodes she said occurred during their marriage. She accused him of running over her foot with a car and burning her hand with a cigarette, as well as sending her abusive emails and text messages. The couple divorced in September.
Sorensen has denied the allegations, saying he stepped down to relieve the White House of a potential “distraction.”
“In fact, I was the victim of repeated physical violence during our marriage, not her,” he said in a statement to the Post. He detailed some of these incidents to the newspaper and provided photographs of bruises and scrapes he said he received from her during their arguments.
Sorensen, who worked on the Council on Environmental Quality, joined the Trump administration last year after working as a top adviser to Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R). At the time of his White House appointment, the Portland Press Herald wrote that “he has a reputation as an aggressive and sometimes combative political operative.”
According to Politico, officials had not yet completed a background check on Sorensen. Corbett told the Post she told the FBI about his behavior last year.
Porter’s background check had also never been completed.
Earlier Friday, President Donald Trump made his first public comments on Porter’s departure, pointing to his ex-staffer’s denials and calling the situation “very sad.”
“As you probably know, he says he’s innocent, and I think you have to remember that,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office. “He said very strongly yesterday that he’s innocent, so you’ll have to talk to him about that.”
According to CNN, White House chief of staff John Kelly and others in the administration knew about the allegations against Porter for months before they became public.
This article has been updated with details on the allegations against Sorensen and Trump’s comments Friday about Porter.