The second wife of disgraced former White House aide Rob Porter told CNN she is worried Porter will also abuse White House communications director Hope Hicks.
Jennifer Willoughby is one of two women who have accused the former White House staff secretary of emotional and physical abuse. She told Anderson Cooper that she does not believe Porter has changed since their marriage and Hicks will be his next victim.
Willoughby said, during their marriage, she lived in "low-grade, constant terror of not knowing what I might do to set something off.” She also said Porter engaged in "systematic tearing down" of her character during the time she was with him and called him a man who is “deeply troubled, and angry, and violent."
When Cooper asked her if White House officials knew about this side of Porter, Willoughby said it was “reserved for the intimate and most vulnerable moments in his life.”
She also recounted an incident during her separation with Porter, when the man refused to leave the house she was staying in and, in his anger, punched and broke the glass of her front door.
“I didn’t know what he would do next. Even in that moment — I didn’t realize the extent of what I was dealing with,” she said of the incident, which prompted her to call the police.
Willoughby said constantly shouting at each other had become a normal part of their marriage. She said following one such episode, Porter “came to the shower and opened the door and pulled me out to continue yelling at me.”
“I think up until that moment, I didn’t realize that I was in an abusive marriage,” said an emotional Willoughby. “That I was with a man who was capable of something like that.”
She left Porter in 2013.
Willoughby said she was contacted by a third woman in February 2016 who was dating Porter at the time and was suffering similar abuse.
“She was in a relationship with Rob, she had been for several years, and was experiencing abuse and feeling crazy,” Willoughby said. “She wanted to know if she was. ‘Am I alone? Am I crazy?’ I think were her exact questions.”
According to Willoughby, before Porter’s first wife came out about his abuse, Porter asked her to “downplay” the violence during the marriage.
She also said she was worried Hicks might meet the same fate as her.
“It worries me for a lot of reasons,” Willoughby said. “If he hasn’t already been abusive with Hope, he will be.”
What’s even more frustrating for Willoughby was the fact the White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and even White House chief of staff John Kelly defended Porter after Willoughby publicly accused Porter earlier this week.
Banner/Thumbnail credit: Reuters