Omarosa Secretly Recorded Her Firing at the White House

She says Chief of Staff John Kelly threatened her.

Omarosa Manigault NewmanDennis Van Tine/STAR MAX/IPx

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Former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman says she secretly recorded her firing from the White House last year, and that a top administration official tried to threaten her during her departure. 

The recording aired Sunday during an interview on NBC’s Meet the Press. On the tape, which Manigault Newman says she recorded in the Situation Room, Chief of Staff John Kelly says her dismissal from the Trump administration was not negotiable and that it stemmed from “some pretty serious integrity violations.”

“I think it’s important to understand that if we make this a friendly departure we can all be, you know, you can look at your time here in the White House as a year of service to the nation, and then you can go on without any type of difficulty in the future relative to your reputation,” Kelly said in the recording. 

Manigault Newman told NBC’s Chuck Todd that it was “obvious” the chief of staff was threatening her by referring to her reputation. “He goes on to say that ‘things can get ugly for you,’” she said. “That’s downright criminal.”

The secret recording in the Situation Room, where President Donald Trump and his advisers discuss intelligence matters, has stoked security fears on the right. Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel on Sunday called for Manigault Newman to face criminal charges for taping the conversation, citing the “threat to national security.” Manigault Newman says she recorded her firing to protect herself.

The former White House aide and Apprentice star is currently promoting her new book, Unhinged: An Insider’s Account of the Trump White House, to be released Tuesday. In it, she discusses her falling out with the president, whom she describes as “a racist, a bigot, and a misogynist.” She also wrote that she was aware of rumors that Trump had used the N-word on tape during his time at the Apprentice. Last week, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders denied the allegations, saying the book was “riddled with lies.”

On Sunday, Manigault Newman told Todd that she was able to hear the tape herself after her book was published. She said she felt used by Trump and that she regretted her role in supporting his administration. “Being used by Donald Trump for so long, I was like the frog in the hot water,” she said. “I was complicit with this White House deceiving this nation. They continue to deceive this nation by how mentally declined he is.”

The Meet the Press interview comes a day after Trump described Manigault Newman as a “low life.” The two met more than a decade ago on the Apprentice, and Manigault Newman was one of Trump’s most vocal supporters during his first year in office, when she worked as his director of communications for the White House Office of Public Liaison. She was the most prominent African American staffer in the West Wing at the time.

On Sunday, during an interview on ABC’s This Week, Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway struggled to answer when asked to name the highest-level black official in the White House today. “What does that say to have not a single senior adviser in the West Wing who’s African American?” host Jonathan Karl asked after Conway failed to name a single person, pointing instead to Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson.

 

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We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

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