The second White House staffer in as many days just left his job over accusations of domestic violence.
Speechwriter David Sorenson’s ex-wife, Jessica Corbett, told the Washington Post that Sorenson had thrown her into a wall, scarred her by putting a cigarette out on her hand, and ran a car over her foot over the course of their two-and-a-half-year marriage. Corbett also provided the Post with text messages showing Sorenson using vulgar language, and two friends and associates of Corbett’s backed up her account.
Corbett’s accusations against Sorenson, who had worked under senior policy adviser Stephen Miller, come just days after two women also accused former White House staff secretary Rob Porter of domestic abuse. Sorenson denied the allegations to the Post, telling reporters in a statement that he had “never committed violence of any kind against any woman in my entire life.”
Sorenson contends that Corbett was the abusive one in the relationship, and provided the Post with photos of injuries that he said Corbett had inflicted on him. Sorenson’s first wife, Mauranda Stahl, told the Post that Sorenson had never abused her, adding, “Because of that I have a difficult time believing there is any validity to these claims.”
Corbett admitted that she had sometimes slapped Sorenson after he called her names, but nothing more.
“Everything I told you is 100 percent true and that is why he had to resign today,” Corbett said.
The accusations against Sorenson also come at a bad time for a White House still trying to fight off reports that its top officials, including chief of Staff John Kelly, ignored allegations that former staff secretary Rob Porter had abused his two ex-wives. Kelly reportedly helped Porter secure plum assignments and even defended him to the Daily Mail, calling him “a man of true integrity and honor” in a report on Porter’s alleged abuse.
Porter categorically denied the claims, but resigned on Wednesday anyway. Though he told reporters that day he planned to stay on for a few weeks in order to “ensure a smooth transition,” he instead left the White House for good on Thursday.
White House spokesperson Raj Shah told reporters in a Thursday briefing that Kelly only “became fully aware about the allegations” against Porter on Wednesday. When asked what “fully aware” meant, Shah declined to go into specifics but said, “I do know, for instance, that he had not seen images prior to the statement on Tuesday night.”
With Sorenson, however, the White House appears to be taking no chances. In a statement to the Post, Raj Shah said, “We immediately confronted the staffer, he denied the allegations and he resigned today.”