Was Hope Hicks entangled in a love triangle during her stint at the White House?
A new report from New York magazine implies that President Donald Trump’s former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, who reportedly had a relationship with Hicks during the campaign, leaked domestic violence allegations about former staff secretary Rob Porter after a Daily Mail story romantically linked Porter with Hicks while the were both working in the White House.
Porter’s two ex-wives went public with abuse allegations last month, forcing him to resign.
Jennifer Willoughby, Porter’s second ex-wife, told New York magazine that Porter repeatedly asked her to take down an April blog post about physical abuse she allegedly endured — although the post did not name him specifically. She refused, and later reportedly received a more desperate plea in January from Porter, who feared that it would be brought to the media’s attention.
From left: Rob Porter, Hope Hicks and Corey Lewandowski
Andrew Harnik/AP/Shutterstock; Chip Somodevilla/Getty; Taylor Hill/Getty
“He did not name names, but he implied that there was a former staffer from the White House who was unhappy with him and was out to get him and take him down and somehow had gotten wind of my blog post,” Willoughby said.
She first believed the feud was with former chief strategist Steve Bannon. However, New York reports that Willoughby later came to the conclusion that person was Lewandowski.
“[Lewandowski] got wind that she was dating Porter, and he could not handle that,” an anonymous source who worked with Lewandowski told the publication. “There were still raw feelings.”
Porter, 40, and Hicks, 29, broke up amid the scandal.
A spokesperson for Lewandowski did not immediately return PEOPLE’s call for comment.
Hope Hicks and Donald Trump
Hicks, who announced her resignation as communications director last month, also reportedly endured disrespectful treatment by White House chief of staff John Kelly.
“He was extraordinarily dismissive of her,” a former senior White House official told the magazine. “He would refer to her as ‘the high-schooler,’ he would joke about how she was inexperienced, she was in over her head, she was immature.”
The insider added, “He doesn’t like a woman that potentially has some position of power over him. He thinks women should be subservient to him. If you look at his relationship with Ivanka or Hope — women who aren’t subservient to him — he has problems with those people.”
CNN previously reported that Hicks decided to leave her position after Trump “berated” her following her testimony to a congressional investigative committee’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
A source also told PEOPLE that Hicks felt “it was time to resign.”
“She has been incredibly loyal to [President Trump] for a long time but it’s been a tough few years and she had enough,” the insider said. “She needed to make a change after everything she has been through.”
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