Madeleine Westerhout was President Donald Trump‘s executive assistant and “gatekeeper” before she resigned on Thursday amid rumors of her sharing details about Trump’s family with reporters.
According to the New York Times, Westerhout, during a recent off-the-record dinner with reporters staying at hotels near Bedminster, N.J., which was part of the President’s working vacation, she shared details about oval office operations as well as Trump’s family. They learned of this information from a confidential source who spoke “on the condition of anonymity to discuss White House personnel issues”.
Once President Trump learned of this breach of trust, she was ousted immediately. Though she officially “resigned” the source for the New York Times says that she was a “separated employee” and would not be allowed to return to the White House on Friday.
Westerhout has been one of the President’s most trusted confidants since 2016. She started working for Trump as his “greeter girl” welcoming dignitaries visiting the President at Trump Tower while she was still assistant to Republican National Committee Chief of Staff Katie Walsh.
She quickly became part of the President’s inner circle. “Madeleine is the key,” Trump told the Washington Post in 2018. “She’s the secret. Because she’s the person—” He never got to finish his thought but the message was clear: If you wanted to talk to President Trump, you went through Madeleine Westerhout.
When President Trump’s schedule leaked earlier this year, Westerhout told the Washington times it was a “disgraceful breach of trust.” She was thought to be one of the few people that President Trump could trust to not leak information to the press. Her leaving the White House is not a surprise with the amount of turnover in this administration but the way she left, leaking information to the press, is a huge surprise.
Westerhout was born and raised in Newport Beach, California. She got her B.A. in Political Science from the College of Charleston in Charleston, SC. After graduating from college, she moved to Washington D.C. to pursue a career in politics.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. She’s a Former Barre Instructor
As she started building her career in politics, Westerhout worked part-time as a Barre instructor. When she was first featured in the news for her role as a “greeter” for President Trump, she poked fun at herself on Twitter. “Love that I’m an ‘ex-fitness instructor’ but I only taught Pure Barre part-time for a couple years…my #1 priority has always been the RNC!” she wrote.
In addition to her time as a Barre instructor, she is a fan of SoulCycle according to several posts on her Facebook feed. She took classes in her hometown of California and in Washington D.C. “When you follow your favorite SoulCycle instructor around town to take all her classes before she leaves…even if that means two class at two different studios in one day to get in a theme ride as well.” she wrote in one post on Facebook. “Missing my crew though!! ???? Rachel Rivas Cara Mason Molly Donlin O’Driscoll and most importantly, Richard Walters”
Her studio of choice was the West End location in Washington, DC. Her job must have taken much more of her time starting in 2016 as that was the last time she checked in at the gym.
2. Madeleine Westerhout got her Start in Politics Working for Mitt Romney
Madeleine Westerhout’s first job in politics was while she was still in college. She interned for Mitt Romney on his 2012 presidential campaign. Following that, she transitioned to special projects and volunteer coordinator for former South Carolina Sen. John Kuhn in 2013.
After she graduated, she briefly interned for representative John Campbell (R-Calif.) before taking a full-time position with the Republican National Committee. At the RNC she worked closely with Republican National Committee Chief of Staff Katie Walsh which led to her working with Donald Trump’s transition team once he was elected as the “greeter” leading Trump’s guest from the lobby of Trump Tower in New York to scheduled meetings.
3. She’s an Animal Lover
According to her Facebook page, Madeleine has a dog named “Monica” and is a big supporter of rescue animals and animals in general.
She shared a post from the Washingtonian back in 2017 that shows Washington National’s pitcher Max Scherzer with his wife Erica with their dog and says the couple will cover the adoption fees at the Humane Rescue Alliance for a weekend. “This is incredible! Maybe Monica needs a new friend…” she captioned above the post.
Apparently, her dog Monica was a rescue as well. In May 2019, she was looking for a “forever home” for her and posted “If anyone is intereste(d) in adopting her, please reach out to me or the Humane Rescue Alliance!”
She also shared a video in 2016 from Refinery29 that showed the effects of poachers on elephants and wrote “save the ellies!”
4. She’s a Fan of the Bush Family
Westerhout’s Facebook page is full of posts that show her admiration and appreciation for the Bush family. She has a photo from 2013 where she was pictured with the late George H.W. Bush and at least 8 other posts that feature the Bush family.
She’s been a Republican throughout her career and has posted about other politicians including Rick Perry and her former bosses Mitt Romney and RNC Chief of Staff Katie Walsh, but the majority of her posts on other politicians feature people from the Bush family.
In January 2017 she posted the letter that the Bush sisters wrote to the Obama daughters. She regularly posted updates on George H.W. Bush’s health status before he tragically passed away. She also shared a post of George H.W. and Barbara Bush getting applause at the Super Bowl in 2017 and wrote “True stars of the show!”
She also posted an article titled “In Honor of George W. Bush’s 71st Birthday, Here are the 71 Most George Bushiest Moments in History” with the caption “How can you not adore him?! #43”
5. She Reportedly Tried to Expand her Role in the White House
According to a report from Politico, for the past 6 months, Westerhout tried to “expand the boundaries of her job to encompass a broader set of tasks and to include foreign travel”.
The anonymous White House adviser also told Politico that Westerhout tried to act like a “de facto chief of staff” which “irked several White House officials and Cabinet secretaries who thought she should stick to her primary task of serving as the president’s personal secretary with a desk just outside the Oval Office”
The unnamed adviser called the latest incident where Westerhout shared details about the President’s personal life “the final straw”.