Last year, hours after she tearfully apologized to the man who was ousting her from the White House, Madeleine Westerhout felt she had another sorry to share — and so she texted President Donald Trump's younger daughter, Tiffany Trump, with a simple message.
"I am so sorry," Westerhout wrote. "I hope one day you can forgive me."
In Westerhout's telling, Tiffany, 26, "never responded."
Westerhout's career had unraveled in a matter of weeks in August 2019. The 29-year-old, who had worked as President Trump's executive assistant since he entered the White House and was eventually promoted to director of Oval Office operations, was forced out last summer after sharing intimate details about the Trumps at a wine-filled off-the-record dinner with reporters.
Among the revelations according to other accounts, was that she felt she had a stronger relationship with President Trump than his daughters, Tiffany or Ivanka, the latter of whom is also a senior adviser.
Westerhout reportedly said that Trump felt Tiffany was overweight and didn’t like being photographed with her because of that. ("I love Tiffany, doing great!" the president soon tweeted.)
Almost exactly a year after she lost her job, Westerhout spoke out with her version of the story — about her time in the White House, about the night that cost her her job and the personal turmoil that followed.
"As much as I wish this dinner didn't happen and things didn't end the way they did, I am really glad that I learned a lot from this," she told PEOPLE earlier this month of Off the Record, which was published in August.
In her book, she writes of the phone call she had with the president last year after being told she would have to resign once word spread of what she had said.
"All I would need to do was speak from the heart," she writes of what she was thinking as she waited to speak with him. "The only thing I told myself, over and over, was: Madeleine, do not cry. If ever there’s a time to be strong, this is it. Seconds later, I heard the voice I had heard so many times, the voice I would hear from time to time in my dreams. So much for not crying."
'Madeleine,' " she wrote the president asked her, “'what happened?' ”
“'I’m so sorry, Mr. President,' I said, sniffing away," Westerhout writes. "It was the first of a half-dozen apologies, maybe more. I think I was trying to set a record."
She writes that President Trump told her, "Madeleine, Madeleine, this is going to be devastating for Tiffany.”
But when she broached the idea of personally apologizing to Tiffany, he told her, she writes, "“Maybe later, but not right now."
A few hours later, however, she could not resist. She was dogged by what others at the dinner remembered her saying.
"The comments I’d made about Tiffany made the least sense to me," she writes. "As someone who had suffered from an eating disorder, I was the last person in the world who should bring up another woman’s body. I know how tough women can be on themselves. They don’t need anyone else to pile on the criticism."
"As awful as I felt about hurting the president," Westerhout recalls in her book. "I felt worse about hurting Tiffany."
But her apology text went unanswered.
"I don’t blame her," Westerhout writes.
Speaking with PEOPLE earlier this month, Westerhout did not deny the possibility of having said what others remembered her saying at the infamous dinner with the press.
"It's hard for me to believe that I made those comments, because I know that the comments that are reported I made are not true and I don't believe them to be true," she said. "But I take responsibility for what was reported and I'm not looking to re-litigate that night."
Westerhout said she has been in touch with other Trumps since last year, including son-in-law and senior White House aide Jared Kushner.
The president himself tweeted positively about her book, though he has criticized other — harsher — insider accounts and last year tweeted that Westerhout was bound by a confidentiality agreement, which she said wasn't true.
"I was devastated after I lost my job," she told PEOPLE. "And I realized that I was nowhere near ready to jump into something new, and I wanted to take the time to process what happened. And I think this book reads almost like my diary."
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