Omarosa Manigault-Newman drew a new wave of condemnation from President Trump’s inner circle on Monday after the release of a secretly taped phone call with the president — compounding the backlash and security concerns raised by her recording of Chief of Staff John Kelly in the Situation Room.
“Donald Trump made her,” Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani told “Fox & Friends” on Monday. “What kind of ingratitude is this?”
The recording was released on NBC’s “Today” Monday morning, purporting to capture a conversation between Manigault-Newman and Trump after she was fired by Kelly in December.
“Omarosa what’s going on? I just saw in the news that you’re thinking about leaving. What happened?” Trump asks on the recording.
“General Kelly came to me and said that you guys wanted me to leave,” Omarosa responds.
“No. Nobody ever told me about it,” Trump replies.
“Wow,” Omarosa says.
“You know, they run a big operation, but I didn’t know it,” Trump is recorded saying. “… God dammit. I don’t love you leaving at all.”
Reacting to the tape, White House Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley described the frenzy as the work of a “disgruntled” and “self-serving” former official.
“The thought of doing something like that to a fellow employee, not to mention the leader of the free world, is completely disgraceful,” he told “Fox & Friends.”
Over the weekend, Manigault-Newman released a different recording—of Kelly notifying her of her firing. Manigault-Newman said Sunday that Kelly was “threatening” her in the White House.
In the recording, Kelly seeks Manigault-Newman’s “friendly departure” from the administration without any “difficulty in the future relative to your reputation.” According to the tape, Kelly says things could get “ugly” for her, and that she would be “open to some legal action” for conduct that would merit a court martial if she were in the military.
Manigault-Newman described that comment as a “very obvious…threat” on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday. She said she had recorded the conversation because otherwise no one would believe her.
“We’ve got to talk to you about leaving the White House,” Kelly apparently says in the tape. “It’s come to my attention over the last few months that there’s been some pretty, in my opinion, significant integrity issues related to you and the use of government vehicles and some other issues.”
When she asks whether the president was aware of her pending termination, Kelly, on the audio recording, purportedly tells her that “this is a non-negotiable discussion” and that her firing was related to “pretty serious integrity violations.”
When asked about Manigault-Newman’s secretly recorded conversations with both the chief of staff and the president, Giuliani said the former aide was in violation of White House rules.
“She’s certainly violating national security regulations,” Giuliani said Monday.
Giuliani also denied that White House officials pressured or attacked her, saying if anyone wanted to hurt her, they could have leaked derogatory information to the media, like, “Everybody in the White House thinks she’s a backstabber.”
Upon release of the first conversation with Kelly on Sunday, White House officials fired back immediately saying that Manigault-Newman’s termination for alleged ethical violations was handled appropriately and charged that she would have flagrantly violated security protocols by taping Kelly in the highly secured room in the basement of the West Wing.
“The very idea a staff member would sneak a recording device into the White House Situation Room, shows a blatant disregard for our national security—and then to brag about it on national television further proves the lack of character and integrity of this disgruntled former White House employee,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement on Sunday evening.
In January, shortly after Manigault-Newman’s firing, the White House announced a new policy banning staff and guests in the West Wing from using personal cellphones, citing concerns about the “security and integrity” of White House “security systems.”
Manigault-Newman, who campaigned for Trump before taking the job as director of communications for the White House Office of Public Liaison, left the White House in December 2017.