Update: President Trump reportedly told a group of reporters Friday afternoon before leaving for Camp David that he had fired his former secretary and Oval Office 'gatekeeper', Madeleine Westerhout, because she had made inappropriate comments about his relationship with his daughters.
"I think she said some things. She called me. She was very upset. She was very down," Trump said, referring to a phone call between he and Westerhout that purportedly took place after she was fired Thursday evening.
"She called and I wished her well," Trump said.
He added that he always felt Westerhout did "a good job", and that he thought she was a "good person."
According to the Hill, the president was commenting on a Politico report published Friday claiming that Westerhout was fired for bragging that she had a better relationship with Trump than he had with his daughters, Ivanka and Tiffany Trump, and that - more critically - Trump didn't like being photographed alongside Tiffany because he felt she was overweight.
Westerhout reportedly made the comments after an off-the-record dinner with reporters on Aug. 17. The dinner allegedly took place at the restaurant inside an Embassy Suites hotel with a group of reporters who were covering Trump's weekend trip to his resort in Bedminster, New Jersey.
🚨 SCOOP: Madeleine Westerhout, Trump’s personal assistant, was fired after bragging to reporters that she had a better relationship w/ Trump than his own daughters and POTUS did not like being in pictures w/ Tiffany because he thought she was overweight. https://t.co/Hpyhh7I1b4— Daniel Lippman (@dlippman) August 30, 2019
After the dinner, Westerhout rode back to a different hotel with the Washington Post's Phil Rucker and Reuters' Steve Holland. White House Press Secretary Hogan Gidley had been present at the dinner, but left to do an interview with Fox News, leaving Westerhout to "open up" to the reporters after having a few drinks.
A confidant of Donald Trump Jr. accused Rucker of breaking journalistic protocol by reporting on details divulged during the off-the-record conversation, though both Rucker and his employer denied this, and it wasn't immediately clear what the Trump family confidant was referring to.
According to Politico, Trump confirmed that he had fired Westerhout because of her comments, which he described as "a little bit hurtful." Trump added that he would touch base with his youngest daughter once he reached Camp David.
"I love Tiffany," he said.
Watch video of Trump's comments below (his comments about Westerhout can be found at around the 3 minute mark):
Pres. Trump makes remarks ahead of departing for Camp David. https://t.co/n4xJABzkYL— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) August 30, 2019
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An aide and top gatekeeper to President Trump has resigned from her position at the White House after reportedly being caught leaking to the press, Bloomberg and the New York Times reported late Thursday.
Madeleine Westerhout, the now-former special assistant to the president and director of Oval Office operations, had worked for the president since the transition. But she shared details about Trump, his family and his time in the White House during an off-the-record chat with reporters.
Once her actions had been discovered, the administration decided that "immediate termination" was the only worthwhile punishment for leaking. She would not be returning to work on Friday.
The White House didn't immediately have a comment on her departure.
Westerhout served as a critical gatekeeper for the president. Her office sat literally in front of the Oval Office.
Many former Trump staffers tried to turn Westerhout into an ally because of her ability to control access to the Oval. These included former Chief of Staff John Kelly. But, per the NYT, her authority in the West Wing came almost entirely from her physical proximity to the president, since she was not a "name brand" aide.
She also regularly shared snapshots from the West Wing on her private Instagram account, and once joked that she had been responsible for printing a piece of paper that Trump had held up at a public event.