Political News

White House Speechwriter Resigns Amid Abuse Accusations

Posted February 9, 2018 10:30 p.m. EST

David Sorensen, a White House speechwriter, resigned Friday after a news report detailed accusations from a former wife who said he had abused her during their marriage.

His resignation came two days after Rob Porter, the White House staff secretary, submitted his own resignation after his two former wives publicly accused him of being abusive to them when they were married.

In an interview in The Washington Post, Sorensen’s former wife, Jessica Corbett, detailed a volatile 2 1/2-year marriage in which Sorensen ran over her foot while driving a car and put out a lit cigarette on her hand. Their divorce became final last fall. Corbett said she described those episodes to the FBI last fall as it was conducting a background check of Sorensen, according to The Post.

Sorensen denied Corbett’s account, and insisted that she was the abuser. Responding to a Facebook message Friday evening, Sorensen called his former wife “creative” and later emailed a lengthy statement disputing her account. In the statement, he called her claims “malicious” and without “authentic evidence.” He also included photographs that he said were evidence of injuries she left him with during confrontations.

He added, “Although I had hoped to never have to think about or discuss the woman who spent years physically attacking, threatening and lying about me — and relentlessly and cruelly bombarding me with unimaginable fits of rage — this incident is an opportunity to highlight the grossly underreported and unacknowledged issue of female-on-male domestic violence.”

Asked why he did not fight to keep his job, Sorensen said in a Facebook message: “I 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.”

A former policy adviser to Gov. Paul Richard LePage of Maine, Sorensen began working for the Trump administration in May. Julie Rabinowitz, a spokeswoman for LePage, said in a statement Friday that the governor had been unaware of the accusations, and that none had been made during Sorensen’s time in that office.

“Without an allegation or evidence, there was nothing upon which the governor could take action,” she wrote.

In a statement, Raj Shah, the deputy White House press secretary, confirmed Sorensen’s departure.

“Before we were contacted by the media, we learned last night that there were allegations,” Shah said. “We immediately confronted the staffer, he denied the allegations and he resigned today.”

Like Corbett, Porter’s former wives also said they had told the FBI about being abused — in their cases, more than a year ago. But the background checks were still underway for both men at the time of their resignations, and there is no indication that the White House conducted its own review of either aide.