Suspense has been building all day: What could she have said that was so terrible that it might get her canned summarily? Despite his “Apprentice” image, Trump palpably dislikes firing people. He’d rather let them linger and make their lives miserable (e.g., Jeff Sessions) than pull the plug, possibly because he understands that he has more leverage over them as long as they continue to work for him. Westerhout sat right outside the Oval Office too so she would know better than most in the West Wing what he was doing and who he was talking to at any given moment of his presidency. In other words, she would have lots of tell-all fodder potentially.
Better to keep her on staff, contrite, and quiet than to risk making a loquacious enemy of her by firing her — unless she said something so terrible that there was no other option.
Per Politico, it’s pretty bad. It’s not a “leak” but it’s nasty.
Madeleine Westerhout, who left her White House job suddenly on Thursday as President Trump’s personal 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…
Westerhout also jokingly told the journalists that Trump couldn’t pick Tiffany out of a crowd, said one of the people. “She had a couple drinks and in an uncharacteristically unguarded moment, she opened up to the reporters,” the person said…
“This was an off-the-record dinner and the media blatantly violated that agreement,” an administration official said.
Who burned Westerhout? Ed noted earlier that there’s always been speculation about her as a leaker, partly because she came over from the RNC rather than the Trump campaign and partly because she was superbly positioned to watch his activities during the day. But if Westerhout was an important leaker, it’s bizarre that reporters would have shared her comments about the Trump daughters and risked her getting fired. They’d be killing the golden goose, a prime source of material for their own dishy scoops about Trump.
Politico notes that Trump press aide Hogan Gidley was also at the dinner but left for an hour or so to do an interview with Fox News, at which point Westerhout supposedly began blabbing about the Trump girls. Maybe Gidley returned to the dinner and ended up chatting with one of the reporters to the effect of “What’d you guys talk about while I was gone?” At which point the reporter might have shared Westerhout’s gossip with Gidley and then Gidley might have shared it with the White House. Per Ed’s post this morning, some in the building had knives out for her already due to her attempts to expand her portfolio. Maybe Gidley was part of that.
What’s Westerhout’s move now? She’s only 29 and came to Trump from establishment Washington, so it’s conceivable that she’ll keep her mouth shut about what she saw in the White House and try to catch on in some other, more traditional Republican office. But maybe her disloyalty to Trump has now made her radioactive to anti-Trumpers too. Who wants an executive assistant prone to chattering to reporters about your issues with your own children? If she’s frozen out of politics because of her mistake, the only thing left to do might be to write that tell-all and cash in. Maybe the White House realizes that and is working quietly behind the scenes to get her a position with a Republican office in Congress somewhere. Keep her on the team and she’ll keep quiet, hopefully.