Another leaker? Trump’s personal assistant abruptly resigns

(Photo by Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

A personal assistant to President Donald Trump has resigned following reports that she divulged information to the press about him and White House business.

Madeleine Westerhout, the 28-year-old director of Oval Office operations who had been Trump’s assistant since he became president, reportedly resigned Thursday after leaking information to the media, according to The New York Times.

An off-the-record dinner with reporters in New Jersey as the president vacationed provided the setting for the discussion which allegedly involved information on White House affairs as well as on Trump’s family. Although the content of the statements was not yet clear, Westerhout was immediately labeled a “separated employee” and will not be allowed back in the White House, according to The Times.

“She had been drinking and disclosed private details about the president’s family. She also gossiped about TV news personalities seeking access to the president,” CBS News reported, citing “sources with knowledge of the dinner.”

Westerhout, who was born in California and graduated from the College of Charleston, worked as an intern for Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign before being named Special Assistant to the President and Executive Assistant to the President in 2017, joining the transition team from the Republican National Committee after a stint as an assistant to Chief of Staff Katie Walsh.

“I don’t think it will hit me until I walk into the White House,” she said, according the college website. “It’s such an honor.”

Westerhout gained media attention in 2016 as she became known as a Trump greeter, and even the “elevator girl,” according to a CNN report at the time, as she escorted guests of the then president-elect to Trump Tower.

“She’s shuttled everyone from politicians, business execs and bureaucrats such as former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, former Vice President Al Gore and Gen. John Kelly to celebrities including Oscar winner Leonardo DiCaprio through the lobby of the midtown Manhattan skyscraper,” the College of Charleston wrote.

(Video: YouTube/National Post)

Her annual salary of $95,000 as Trump’s personal assistant was reportedly increased to $145,000 when Westerhout was promoted two years later to Oval Office director, a position which afforded her a desk right outside the West Wing office space.

But though she displayed enthusiasm for her role in the Trump administration, she allegedly cried in despair in 2016 as the election results showed Trump had won the presidency.

“I was with her that night, I never saw her cry,” a former official told CBS News, however.

According to Politico:

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. This irked several White House officials and Cabinet secretaries who thought she should stick to her primary task of serving as the president’s personal secretary with a desk just outside the Oval Office.

 

Apparently, Westerhout “did not have many allies left” in the White House, according to Politico and others indicating her lack of popularity as one of the few staffers brought over by former White House chief of staff Reince Priebus who remained.

“She was a spy from day one who sought to use her proximity to the president to curry favor with his detractors,” a former official told CBS News.

One former senior White House official told the outlet that Westerhout was being targeted by those in the administration who didn’t trust her or resented her. Another official described her exit as a “mob hit.”

“In short, I am not surprised,” a former White House communications official told CBS News.

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Frieda Powers

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