Madeleine Westerhout had worked for the president since the beginning of his administration

By Helen Murphy
August 30, 2019 02:59 PM
Madeleine Westerhout; President Donald Trump
Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty; John Moore/Getty

Madeleine Westerhout, President Donald Trump‘s personal assistant, reportedly resigned on Thursday after the commander in chief discovered she had shared “private details” about his family during an off-the-record dinner with journalists.

According to the New York Times, 28-year-old Westerhout had worked for the president since the very beginning of his administration. The newspaper described her departure as “abrupt and unexpected.”

Sources told CBS News that she had attended a dinner with reporters in Berkeley Heights, New Jersey while the president, 73, was on vacation in the state earlier this month.

According to CBS, Westerhout had been drinking when she disclosed “private details” about the Trump family and “gossiped” about “TV news personalities” who were looking for access to the president. The Times reported that she also shared details about various Oval Office operations.

The White House did not comment when contacted by PEOPLE, and Westerhout did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s requests for comment.

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Madeleine Westerhout
TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty

Citing White House salary information released in July, CNBC reported that Westerhout made $145,000 per year after being promoted to director of Oval Office operations in February — making her one of the highest-paid White House staffers.

Before her time in the Trump administration, Westerhout previously worked for the Republican National Committee and on Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign, the Times reported.

According to the newspaper, the president was wary of her at first, and Westerhout reportedly cried from unhappiness over his victory on election night in 2016. CBS reported the same detail, citing Tim Alberta’s book American Carnage.

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CBS reported that Westerhout was “divisive” and suspected as being disloyal to Trump by some administration officials.

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

The outlet reported that the New Jersey dinner was “not the first time she has been gossiping with reporters present.”

However, a former senior White House official defended Westerhout to CBS and denied the report that she had cried after Trump’s victory.

“I was with her that night, I never saw her cry,” the former official said.

Westerhout joins a long list of Trump administration staffers who have left or been fired throughout his time in office.

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