In the White House, there are some leaks you can get away with and some you can’t. Talking about the first family to reporters is a big no-no, as Madeleine Westerhout just learned.
Senior administrators have been explaining to reporters why the oval office “gatekeeper” suddenly resigned from her $145,000 a year job, but they aren’t giving their names. One top official compared the way she was taken out of the picture to a “mob hit.” When President Donald Trump learned on Thursday that his executive assistant had been talking behind his back to reporters, he gave her a chance to go quietly, and she took it.
President Trump was close with Westerhout, she had the office that guards the Oval Office. Nobody got to see the president without going through her. She knew that discussing personal information about the First Family was forbidden.
The New York Times broke the story, reporting that “Westerhout was considered a ‘separated employee’ Thursday and would not be allowed to return to the White House on Friday.” She had been out all week on vacation. According to CNN, “her White House phone has already been disconnected.”
While Trump was at his golf club in New Jersey, Westerhout joined reporters covering the trip for dinner. Her biggest mistake was not making sure that everyone knew her remarks were to be “off the record.” One of the reporters dropped a dime and told the White House what she said.
The Embassy Suites hotel in Berkely Heights, New Jersey was the scene of the crime. Reporters often stay there when the president visits. Westerhout accompanied Hogan Gidley, a deputy press secretary for dinner and drinks with the writers at the Grain and Cane restaurant. It wouldn’t be the first time that staffers and reporters rubbed elbows. The events are generally known to be kept off the record, “under the rose.”
“Sources with knowledge of the dinner” told CBS “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.”
Her sudden banishment for disloyalty was a shock to her co-workers, who had no idea what was blowing in the wind. Some say it wasn’t that big of a surprise if you consider her background. Her power came only from the fact that she was closer to President Trump than anyone else, not because of any decision making ability. Rumors were circulating around the West Wing that she was really a spy.
According to “one former official,” Wsterhout “was a spy from day one who sought to use her proximity to the president to curry favor with his detractors.”
This wasn’t the first time she flapped her lips at reporters. At a farewell party for Sarah Sanders, “Westerhout bragged about her gatekeeper status.” Both current and former White House workers “found her to be a divisive personality and suspected she was disloyal to the president.”
Her quick and decisive removal underscores President Trump’s ongoing battle against crippling leaks.
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