Tiffany has largely avoided the political spotlight most of the rest of her family seeks — until last week

By Adam Carlson
September 04, 2019 09:27 AM

President Donald Trump‘s younger daughter returned Tuesday to Georgetown University, where she is finishing her law degree, in the wake of a White House scandal about what Trump really thinks about his kids, what he has been telling staffers and how indiscreet they are in discussing that with the press.

Though she had appeared to obliquely reference the drama over the weekend — or at least her own self-esteem amid headlines about being bad-mouthed by a government official — Tiffany Trump was all positivity in a back-to-school Instagram photo on Tuesday.

“Last first day of school,” she wrote in the caption, with a check mark and customary Georgetown hashtags.

That some of the commenters were critics of her father’s (with one posting “Ironic that Daddy is currently dismantling the Rule of Law in this country”) was a reminder that, until last week, Tiffany largely avoided the political spotlight most of the rest of her family has sought.

Her older siblings and in-laws are all either White House aides or campaign surrogates. And while Tiffany, 25, did appear in a limited role while her father was first running for office, including at the Republican National Convention, she does not speak at his rallies, appear on TV or give interviews about his administration.

Politico reported in July that she was “not expected to play any role in the [2020 re-election] campaign, apart from appearing at the occasional event.”

The abrupt departure of Madeleine Westerhout, President Trump’s 28-year-old personal assistant, revealed there may be other dynamics at play.

RELATED: What Trump’s Assistant Madeleine Westerhout Said About Tiffany Trump That Forced Her Out of the Job

Multiple news outlets reported that Westerhout was pushed out of her job after speaking indelicately about the Trump children at an off-the-record dinner with the press in August.

Specifically, according to sources cited by The New York Times and Politico, Westerhout spoke candidly about Tiffany’s weight and how she looked — claiming Trump, 73, believes she is overweight and does not want to be photographed with her. (He later told reporters this wasn’t true.)

Westerhout, according to Politico, also told reporters that she felt she had a better relationship with Trump than either Tiffany or Ivanka Trump, the president’s eldest daughter and a senior aide.

Westerhout had been drinking when “in an uncharacteristically unguarded moment, she opened up to the reporters,” a source told Politico.

From left: Madeleine Westerhout, President Donald Trump and Tiffany Trump
Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images; Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images; Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images
Madeleine Westerhout
TIMOTHY A. CLARY/Getty Images

After word reached the president of what she had said, he came to agree that Westerhout must resign, which she did Thursday, according to the Times.

Speaking with reporters on Friday, Trump declined to describe it as a firing — “I think it was automatic” — and said that Westerhout “mentioned a couple of things about my children,” but he did not elaborate.

(The White House did not comment to PEOPLE on the record; Westerhout did not return a request for comment but declined to speak with Politico.)

RELATED: Tiffany Trump Celebrates Boyfriend’s Birthday as Dad Donald’s Assistant Forced Out of Job

“I really think she had a bad night. I think it was unfortunate. She said she was drinking, and the whole thing was very unfortunate,” Trump told reporters.

“She’s a very good person,” he said of Westerhout, with whom he said he had just spoken.

“Still,” he said, “you don’t say things like she said, which were just a little bit hurtful to some people.”

Asked if Westerhout’s reported comments about Tiffany were true, the president said, “Oh, no. No. Tiffany is great. I love Tiffany.”

He said Friday he was going to speak with her by phone soon: “I’m going to say it’s just absolutely false. She is a wonderful person. She studies so hard. She’s a great student.”

Tiffany Trump at Georgetown
Tiffany Trump/Instagram

Tiffany, the president’s only child with Marla Maples, was raised by her mom after Maples and the president split in the ’90s.

Tiffany and her dad have a strained past, PEOPLE previously reported.

“Since the inauguration, Tiffany and her father have sometimes gone for months without speaking and she went a very long time without seeing him,” a source close to her told PEOPLE in April 2018. “The last time she was at a family function with him, it was awkward for her and she didn’t feel totally welcome.”

RELATED: Donald Trump ‘Forgave’ Personal Assistant Who Reportedly Shared Info About His Kids, Including Tiffany and Ivanka 

On Saturday, without further explanation, Tiffany posted some motivational quotes to Instagram.

The lines read: “Study me as much as you like, you will never know me. For i differ a hundred ways from what you see me to be. put yourself behind my eyes, and see me as i see myself. Because i have chosen to dwell in a place you cant see.”

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