Donald Trump defends daughter
Madeleine Westerhout was pushed out of the White House for sharing intimate details about Trump’s family with reporters, multiple people tell CNN. Sources familiar with the matter said Westerhout said disparaging things about Tiffany Trump during the off-the-record dinner with reporters and mentioned the President’s youngest son, 13-year-old Barron. As Politico first reported, Westerhout referred to Tiffany’s weight and that she should lose it before taking pictures with her father, according to one of the sources, and at one point said Trump loves Westerhout more than his own children.
Still, on Saturday, Trump called his former assistant “a very good person” while also reaffirming his love for his daughter in a tweet.
“While Madeleine Westerhout has a fully enforceable confidentiality agreement, she is a very good person and I don’t think there would ever be reason to use it,” Trump tweeted Saturday morning. “She called me yesterday to apologize, had a bad night. I fully understand and forgave her! I love Tiffany, doing great!” Trump made a similar comment to reporters Friday about his daughter as he departed for Camp David.
Westerhout was forced to resign as executive assistant to the President on Thursday after Trump learned she had shared information with reporters at a recent off-the-record meeting, during which she didn’t say her comments were off the record, according to sources familiar with her departure. A reporter divulged details about the dinner to White House staff, the people said.
Some current and former officials questioned whether deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley, who invited Westerhout to the dinner, should have left her alone for 45 minutes to do a media appearance. Others say the onus is on Westerhout for making those comments and on the media for breaking off-the-record protocol. “Lots of blame to shoulder here,” one source said.
A source close to Gidley said he bears no responsibility for what happened and that the responsibility falls solely on Westerhout and the media for breaking the ground rules in the exchange. CNN has reached out to Gidley for comment.
Trump on Friday told reporters before departing for Camp David on Friday that Westerhout had “mentioned a couple of things about my children” at the dinner.
Trump praised her as “a very good person and I thought, I always felt she did a good job.”
He said Westerhout had called him to discuss the dinner. She said she had been “drinking a little bit,” Trump said.
Trump noted that the dinner was off the record, but he said, “Nevertheless, you don’t say things. You don’t say certain things, so it was too bad.”
CNN’s Betsy Klein, Kaitlan Collins, Jim Acosta and Noah Gray contributed to this report