Westerhout had worked hand-in-glove with Trump — her office was right outside the Oval — since shortly after he was elected President, making her one of a handful of aides who had served under Trump for the duration of his term.
And now, she is out. Because, reportedly, a journalist at the dinner broke the “off the record” terms and told the White House what Westerhout had said about the first family. (CNN was not among the news organizations represented at the dinner.)
But her removal is a reminder that if you stay in Trump’s orbit long enough, he will turn on you. He demands and expects total and complete fealty from those who work for him but doesn’t even pretend it’s a two-way street. You will give him your loyalty and life; he will not reciprocate. Them’s the rules.
Take Westerhout. There’s no doubt that talking about Trump’s family — in any terms — is the sort of thing that is always going to get you into trouble with the boss. But she was talking in a format that, according to CNN’s White House team, is both a) a regular occurrence during presidential trips and b) established as an off-the-record (meaning that there is no talking about the nature of the conversation or any details of it) event.
While Westerhout should know better than assuming that just because something is “off the record” means it will never leak, she also almost certainly earned, through her years of service to Trump, a second chance. (Nota bene: There are things she might have told reporters — although I can’t really imagine what — that are so beyond the pale that she had to go no matter what.)
But that’s not how Trump works. There are no second chances. Total loyalty is expected. Anything short of it is punished. Severely. No exceptions — unless you’re family.
Logan Roy is domineering, bullying and entirely convinced he knows best in every situation. (Sound like anyone else you know?) He takes everything about his company — Waystar Royco — personally. The only people who have been able to survive around him for any period of time are those willing to dedicate everything to him, and to follow his at-times wild orders without question.
The more I watch Logan Roy, the more he reminds me of Trump — and vice versa. The obsession with loyalty, the lack of it he is willing to give. The view of people as pawns to be played for his gain no matter the real-world consequences. And the unstinting belief that whatever he does is the right thing because he is doing it.