- Jonathan Ernst/Reuters
- Top White House aide Rob Porter is rumored to be considering leaving the Trump administration, as Axios reported Sunday.
- A close friend of Porter’s told Business Insider not to expect any departure “in the immediate future.”
White House staff secretary Rob Porter, whose influence in the West Wing has grown under chief of staff John Kelly, is rumored to possibly be on his way out of the administration, as Axios reported Sunday.
But a close friend of Porter’s on Capitol Hill told Business Insider that he won’t be leaving “in the immediate future.”
The friend, who said they spoke to Porter on Monday morning, said they could confirm that the top aide “has not made any decisions and all reporting is speculative.”
“He has a fairly prominent role coordinating trade policy for the administration, and there will likely be a lot of activity on that front in the next month,” the confidant added. “And as staff secretary, he is playing a major role in coordinating the State of the Union, so no changes would happen in the immediate future.”
The annual State of the Union address is slated for January 30.
Citing three sources “with direct knowledge,” Axios wrote that Porter “received overtures from major companies and organizations wanting to poach him from the Trump administration.”
But Porter has yet to seriously entertain one of the offers, the publication added, noting that the White House wants him to stick around. Axios reported Porter has expressed interest in serving a larger policy-oriented role in the White House.
A former top Senate aide, Porter serves as assistant to the president for policy coordination in addition to his role as staff secretary. He’s been at the helm since the Trump administration’s first day, and is tasked with vetting and filtering what reaches Trump’s desk – a role that has been reinforced under Kelly.
In August, Politico and The New York Times reported on a pair of memos that Porter and Kelly signed that codified the procedures for presenting Trump with any sort of information. As it is now, Porter must vet and clear all news articles, legal documents, internal and external policy memos, and agency reports before they make it to Kelly’s desk. Once Kelly signs off, the information lands on Trump’s desk.
In the latter of the two memos, Porter and Kelly devised a system to ensure that all sides of a policy issue for those which have a legal aspect are run past them before making it to the president.