Second White House Official Resigns Amid Reports Of Spousal Abuse
Late Friday, a second member of the Trump Administration resigned his position amid accusations that he abused his former wife:
A White House speechwriter resigned Friday after his former wife claimed that he was violent and emotionally abusive during their turbulent 2½ -year marriage — allegations that he vehemently denied, saying she was the one who victimized him.
The abrupt departure of David Sorensen, a speechwriter who worked under senior policy adviser Stephen Miller, came as The Washington Post was reporting on a story about abuse claims by his ex-wife, Jessica Corbett. Corbett told The Post that she described his behavior to the FBI last fall as the bureau was conducting a background check of Sorensen.
White House officials said they learned of the accusations by Sorensen’s wife Thursday night, before The Post contacted the White House for comment.
“We immediately confronted the staffer, he denied the allegations and he resigned today,” spokesman Raj Shah said in a statement Friday evening.
In a text message to The Post, Sorensen said he stepped down because he “didn’t want the White House to have to deal with this distraction.”
“It should be able to focus on continuing President Trump’s historic accomplishments for the American People,” he texted.
Sorensen’s resignation comes two days after another administration official, staff secretary Rob Porter, departed after two ex-wives said that he physically abused them. Senior White House officials and the FBI knew about the allegations for months, raising questions about why he was allowed to remain in his post.
Administration officials said Sorensen’s position as a speechwriter at the Council on Environmental Quality, a division of the Executive Office of the President, did not require a security clearance. His background check was ongoing, they said. The FBI declined requests for comment.
Corbett first contacted The Post a week before Porter’s case became public. She said that during her marriage to Sorensen, he ran a car over her foot, put out a cigarette on her hand, threw her into a wall and grasped her menacingly by her hair while they were alone on their boat in remote waters off Maine’s coast, an incident she said left her fearing for her life. During part of their marriage, he was a top policy adviser to Republican Maine Gov. Paul LePage.
She said she did not report her abuse allegations to police because of Sorensen’s connections to law enforcement officials.
Corbett said several of the incidents involved alcohol and acknowledged that she slapped Sorensen a number of times after he called her a vulgar term.
Two friends and associates of Corbett said she confided in them during the marriage that her husband was abusive. Corbett also provided records of text messages and emails in which Sorensen berated her with vulgar language and she discussed the deteriorating marriage with others. She gave The Post a photo of her hand bearing a scar she said was from the cigarette burn.
In a lengthy statement, Sorensen said he had “never committed violence of any kind against any woman in my entire life.”
“In fact, I was the victim of repeated physical violence during our marriage, not her,” he added, saying he had consulted with an attorney and was “considering legal options to address her defamation.”
Corbett said she detailed her abuse allegations to an FBI agent who came to her home to interview her on Oct. 5, 2017, as part of Sorensen’s background check process.
A Maine Republican operative, who spoke on the condition of anonymity out of fear of political retribution, said he talked to Corbett shortly before her meeting with the FBI that day.
“She told me she was a little nervous about what to tell them,” he said. “She told me later that she told them the truth.”
In one of several interviews with The Post, Corbett called it “scary” that someone like her ex-husband had access to the White House after what she told the FBI.
“Everyone can think you’re the most wonderful guy, but you’re throwing women into walls by night,” she said.
For his part, Sorensen said that “like many domestic abusers, she was especially adept at controlling her rage so that no others witnessed her physical attacks.”
These allegations and Sorenson’s resignation come at the end of a week in which the White House found itself consumed in controversy after allegations were made against Rob Porter, President Trump’s former Staff Secretary, by two of his ex-wives who have gone public to detail verbal, emotional, and physical abuse by Porter in their respective marriage. Porter has also been accused of similar behavior by a former girlfriend who has not chosen to reveal herself publicly. Initially, the White House responded to these reports by defending Porter only to be forced to withdraw those defenses when Porter’s first wife released photos of injuries she said that he inflicted on her during their marriage while his second wife gave several interviews detailing Porter’s behavior toward her during the course of their two-year marriage. It was also revealed that Porter had not qualified for a full security clearance despite the fact that his job involved virtually nearly every piece of paper presented to the President, including highly classified material.