Report: Terminated Alleged West Wing Leaker Madeleine Westerhout Trashed Ivanka, Tiffany Trump

US Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX), flanked by a presidential transition team aide Madeleine Westerhout, arrives at Trump Tower during another day of meetings with President-elect Donald Trump November 29, 2016 in New York. / AFP / TIMOTHY A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images

Terminated alleged West Wing leaker Madeleine Westerhout reportedly trashed the president’s two daughters Ivanka and Tiffany Trump to reporters during an off-the-record dinner, Politico reported on Friday.

Politico’s Daniel Lippman revealed the contents of the leak that led to her termination, which the New York Times first reported on Thursday evening, in a Friday afternoon report. Lippman wrote:

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 overweigh. Given Westerhout’s sensitive role as a confidante to the president, the few details the White House shared about her abrupt firing had Washington’s political-media class in a quiet frenzy on Thursday night and Friday.

Lippman’s report continues with details of Westerhout’s comments and the setting and to whom they were made:

The critical comments happened at an off-the-record dinner, according to two people familiar with the matter, that Westerhout and deputy White House press secretary Hogan Gidley held earlier this month with reporters who were covering Trump’s vacation at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey.

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.

At some point, Gidley left the restaurant for a television interview on Fox News. During that time — around 45 minutes to an hour — Westerhout made the comments to the reporters.

After the Aug. 17 dinner, which took place at the restaurant inside the nearby Embassy Suites hotel and included the Washington Post’s Phil Rucker, Bloomberg’s Jennifer Jacobs, Reuters’ Steve Holland and the Wall Street Journal’s Andrew Restuccia, Westerhout rode back to a different hotel, the Marriott, with Rucker and Holland.

The New York Times reported on Westerhout’s termination due to alleged leaking on Thursday evening, and reported she was considered now a “separated employee” and told to never return to the White House. Until now, exactly what she leaked–other than it being about Oval Office operations and negative information on the first family–was unclear.

Earlier on Friday, GOP strategist Arthur Schwartz–whose leading role in a broader effort to expose establishment media bigotry, racism, antisemitism, and embarrassing comments has drawn national attention recently–revealed that Washington Post White House bureau chief Philip Rucker was the one who burned Westerhout by revealing the supposedly off-the-record comments she made to somebody else. Eventually, the White House discovered what Westerhout did, and the president promptly terminated her employment.

The Washington Post provided a statement to Breitbart News from its national editor Steven Ginsberg that defends Rucker.

“Philip Rucker is one of the best and most scrupulous reporters in the news business,” Ginsberg said. “He has always acted with the utmost honor and integrity and has never violated Washington Post standards or policies.”

Most interestingly, Ginsberg’s statement does not deny what Schwartz has said–that he burned Westerhout on this off record commentary. A spokesperson for the Post has not answered follow-up comment requests asking if the newspaper denies that its White House bureau chief burned this off the record comment.

But the incident with Westerhout and Rucker offers two potentially interesting lines of followup: First, how someone with deep ties into the GOP establishment got into such a critical position in the president’s inner circle, and second a broader question on journalistic ethics and Rucker’s and the Washington Post‘s alleged serious mishandling of the situation.

On Westerhout, as Breitbart News noted in its second piece on this matter:

Westerhout was a staple in the West Wing, with a desk right outside the Oval Office and having control over much of who got in to speak with the president in person or over the phone and a lot of which papers made it to him and which did not. When it turned out she was allegedly leaking, as the Times noted, she was reportedly immediately terminated and told not to return to the White House. She was an aide to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, now a Utah U.S. senator after carpetbagging his way out West last cycle when he bowed out of running for Senate against Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) in Massachusetts during his 2012 presidential campaign. She also served at the Republican National Committee (RNC) and in various other roles throughout the party before joining the Trump White House in the beginning of the administration.

Politico’s Lippman in his follow-up report on Friday afternoon has several other key details, including one about how Westerhout was seen crying when Trump defeated Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton in 2016:

Other officials were wary of Westerhout, who did not work on the campaign and joined Trump’s team after the 2016 election. She kept largely to herself, several noted, but frequently posted pictures on Instagram of life in the White House.

POLITICO’s Tim Alberta reported in his recent book, “American Carnage,” that Westerhout was observed crying on election night because she was unhappy that Trump had won. But she found her way into a top job at the White House, having previously worked at the Republican National Committee.

During the transition period, Westerhout was known as “elevator girl” or “greeter girl” because she was often photographed escorting guests to see the then president-elect at his office at Trump Tower in Manhattan. She was previously an assistant to Katie Walsh, a top RNC official who also joined the White House, only to resign just months into her tenure as deputy chief of staff.

Westerhout, 28, was a key gatekeeper for the president, screening his official calls and controlling the access of outside advisers.

When it comes to Rucker, the newspaper’s clear refusal to deny that he burned Westerhout pushes yet another media scandal front-and-center after a tumultuous August for the media. CNN and the New York Times have both been rocked throughout the past few weeks by scandal, and now the Post has one of its own.

These repeated missteps by the media industry have jeopardized its standing heading into what is expected to be a wild 2020 presidential election, and each hard hit has taken a toll on the respective publications that have been hammered. What’s more, it opens the media up to more serious criticism, as the White House Correspondents’ Association (WHCA) is doing things like defending Playboy’s Brian Karem amid his violent threats in the Rose Garden while ignoring these major broader scandals throughout the industry:

What’s more, it could have serious repercussions for others in the administration as well as the Washington Post and Rucker himself:

As Breitbart News noted earlier on Friday:

The WHCA just this week signed onto a lawsuit by Brian Karem, Playboys White House correspondent, to try to overturn a White House-issued temporary ban on his press credential, which came after he threatened to engage in physical violence against radio host and former White House aide Dr. Sebastian Gorka at a Rose Garden event this summer. After Karem’s threats of violence, the White House issued a temporary suspension of his press credentials–which Karem has sued to overturn, a lawsuit the WHCA signed onto.

But the WHCA remains silent on actual racism and antisemitism inside the New York Times and inside CNN. It now remains silent on what appears to be a serious breach of journalistic ethics from the Washington Post. It remains silent on threats of violence from CNN primetime weeknight anchor Chris Cuomo, who was caught on tape threatening a man who jokingly called him “Fredo.” They remain silent on CNN’s April Ryan’s bodyguard’s physical attack on a reporter this month who was trying to cover a speech she gave in New Jersey. It remains silent on CNN anchor Don Lemon being credibly accused of sexual assault in a bar in the Hamptons. It remains silent on an MSNBC anchor pushing false information about the president’s finances that he was forced to retract the next night in an embarrassing public retraction and apology. It remains silent on a Miami Heraldcolumnist publishing what has been denounced as antisemitism when he labeled a Jewish conservative a “termite.”

For now, though, this latest skirmish between Trump-world and the media has left both sides shaken.

Lippman’s Politico story noted that White House officials “were buzzing all day on Friday” and “trying to understand her sudden firing.”

“It is a good reminder that we are all staff,” one White House official told Politico. “We are all replaceable.”

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