Washington D.C. was stunned Thursday by the news that President Donald Trump’s executive assistant in the White House, Madeleine Westerhout, was leaving suddenly.
According to an exclusive report from Politico on Friday, Westerhout, a close Trump aide, was ousted after sharing overly intimate details about Trump’s family with reporters.
The president’s executive assistant “was fired after bragging to reporters that she had a better relationship with Trump than his own daughters, Ivanka and Tiffany Trump, and that the president did not like being in pictures with Tiffany because he perceived her as overweight,” Politico reported. She also shared details about Oval Office operations, the New York Times reported.
Westerhout reportedly made the comments during an off-the-record dinner with a handful of reporters while in Bedminster, New Jersey, where the president owns a resort.
A “close adviser” who spoke to Politico suggested that Westerhout’s alleged comments to the media were viewed by many in the White House as the “last straw” for someone who didn’t really have many allies in the Trump administration.
As an executive assistant, Westerhout served as a personal secretary for President Trump. Yet, Politico reported Thursday, “in the past six months, Westerhout had tried to expand the boundaries of her job to encompass a broader set of tasks and to include foreign travel, said one adviser close to the White House, who suggested Westerhout had tried to act like a de facto chief of staff.”
The adviser told Politico that Westerhout’s efforts at enlarging her own role as the president’s personal secretary didn’t sit well with a number of Cabinet secretaries and other White House officials, who believed that she should have just stuck with the responsibilities of her position.
Westerhout, who previously worked at the Republican National Committee and on Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign, joined the Trump transition team following the 2016 election but has reportedly been viewed warily by many in Trump’s orbit as not being a loyalist.
It’s no secret
The New York Times was the first media outlet to have reported on Westerhout’s sudden departure, and that outlet’s story appears to have been independently confirmed by Jonathan Swan, a reporter for Axios.
Swan tweeted, “This NYT report is accurate, per people familiar. She had an off the record conversation and reporter/s shared it. This info got back to the White House.”
Trump weighed in on the matter Friday, telling reporters that Westerhout made “hurtful” comments about his children.
Of her departure, Trump told reporters, “I think it was automatic. I don’t say ‘fire’ or ‘not fire.’ I really think she had a bad night. I think it was unfortunate, she said she was drinking and the whole thing was very unfortunate.”