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Here's What Got Trump's Assistant Fired

More on Madeleine Westerhout's abrupt departure
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 31, 2019 7:00 AM CDT
President Donald Trump's personal secretary Madeleine Westerhout, left, and White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, right, on June 1, 2018, in Washington.   (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)
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(Newser) – President Trump's personal assistant abruptly quit Thursday, and now it's been revealed that Madeleine Westerhout was, as had been rumored, fired over comments she made about the Trump family. Sources tell Politico that Westerhout, 29, and deputy White House press secretary Hogan Gidley held an off-the-record dinner Aug. 17 with reporters who were covering the president's vacation at his New Jersey golf club, and that during a period of time Gidley stepped out to do an interview, Westerhout, as one source puts it, "had a couple drinks and in an uncharacteristically unguarded moment, she opened up to the reporters." One of the reporters then told White House staff, per CNN. Among the things she reportedly said: that she was closer to Trump than his own daughters Ivanka and Tiffany and that Trump doesn't like to appear in photographs with Tiffany because he thinks she is overweight; she also joked that he wouldn't be able to pick Tiffany out of a crowd.

Trump confirmed on Friday that Westerhout made comments about his kids that were "a little bit hurtful," and denied ever speaking poorly of Tiffany: "Tiffany is great. I love Tiffany," he told reporters before leaving for Camp David. "She’s a wonderful person and she studies hard." He didn't confirm whether he fired Westerhout, per the Hill, simply saying what happened was "automatic." He added, "It was too bad," saying she was a "very good person" who did her job well and that she had a "bad night" when the comments were made. He accused reporters who attended the dinner of leaking her comments, and called them "dishonest," and an administration official added to Politico, "This was an off-the-record dinner and the media blatantly violated that agreement." The New York Times spoke to current and former administration officials who were told about the dinner; they said Westerhout also talked about Barron Trump and commented on the president's eating habits. But the paper says Trump was "ambivalent" upon learning of her remarks and "had to be persuaded" that she needed to resign. (Read more President Trump stories.)

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