President Donald Trump and Omarosa Manigault Newman escalated their feud on Monday, with Trump slamming the former White House aide as “wacky,” “vicious” and “not smart” and the former “Apprentice” star threatening to release more tapes of secretly recorded conversations.
The latest flare-up came after Manigault Newman released the audio of multiple conversations she taped during her time in the West Wing, including one in which Trump expressed surprise and disappointment that she had been ousted, and one from the highly sensitive environment of the Situation Room in which chief of staff John Kelly fired her.
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“Wacky Omarosa, who got fired 3 times on the Apprentice, now got fired for the last time,” Trump tweeted Monday morning, in his most direct attack yet on his former aide. “She never made it, never will. She begged me for a job, tears in her eyes, I said Ok. People in the White House hated her. She was vicious, but not smart. I would rarely see her but heard….”
He continued: “… really bad things. Nasty to people & would constantly miss meetings & work. When Gen. Kelly came on board he told me she was a loser & nothing but problems. I told him to try working it out, if possible, because she only said GREAT things about me – until she got fired!”
Trump then sent a third tweet, saying he regretted having to publicly battle with Manigault Newman.
“While I know it’s ‘not presidential’ to take on a lowlife like Omarosa, and while I would rather not be doing so, this is a modern day form of communication and I know the Fake News Media will be working overtime to make even Wacky Omarosa look legitimate as possible. Sorry!” Trump wrote.
On Monday afternoon, Trump kept up the attacks, claiming that Manigault Newman was bound by a non-disclosure agreement, despite her assertion that she refused a $15,000-a-month contract from Trump’s campaign to stay silent after being fired.
“Wacky Omarosa already has a fully signed Non-Disclosure Agreement!” he tweeted.
The dramatic escalation in tensions comes as Manigault Newman is promoting her new book “Unhinged,” in which she claims that Trump regularly used racial epithets and is a “racist, misogynist and bigot.”
Manigault Newman, who was the highest-ranking African-American staffer in the West Wing, was fired last December after a tumultuous tenure during which she alienated many of her colleagues but served as a high-profile liaison to the African-American community.
Her accusations are creating new headaches for Trump, who has long battled accusations that he stokes racial tensions, including through his hard-line immigration policies.
On Monday, Manigault Newman showed no signs of backing down, despite multiple condemnations from the White House over the past few days, and is instead showing that she knows how to rip from her former boss’ playbook by teasing out salacious developments during her media tour.
The former “Apprentice” star appeared on NBC’s “Today” show for a contentious interview with host Samantha Guthrie in which she also revealed a tape she recorded last year of Trump seemingly expressing dismay at her departure.
“Omarosa, what’s going on? I just saw on the news that you’re thinking about leaving? What happened?” Trump says on the tape, which Manigault Newman said was recorded the day after she was fired.
“Gen. Kelly came to me and said that you guys wanted me to leave,” Manigault Newman responded.
“No. … I, I, nobody even told me about it,” Trump replied, to which Manigault Newman said, “Wow.”
“You know they run a big operation, but I didn’t know it,” Trump said in the recording. “I didn’t know that. Goddamn it. I don’t love you leaving at all.”
Later Monday, Manigault Newman, during an interview on MSNBC, said she may release more recordings.
“I don’t know. I’m going to watch to see. They’re trying to figure out, oh, how to stop me,” Manigault Newman said. “They’re trying to penalize me because I would not accept the $15,000 a month deal that they offered me for a fake job on the Trump campaign, so I’m expecting that they’re going to retaliate, and so I’m just going to stand back and wait.”
The release of the recording of the conversation with Trump comes a day after Manigault Newman revealed to NBC a separate recording of Kelly firing her, a tape Manigault Newman claims was recorded in the White House’s Situation Room.
Manigault Newman was fired in December 2017, part of a wider shakeup of the administration under Kelly, who had arrived in the West Wing the previous summer.
The former reality TV star regularly stirred controversy during her tenure, including over an impromptu photo shoot at the White House with members of her 39-person bridal party, and over a feud with American Urban Radio Networks White House correspondent April Ryan.
During her tenure on Trump’s campaign and the White House, Manigualt Newman defended Trump’s policies. She said during her MNSBC interview Monday that she used to “aspire to be like” Trump.
“I patterned myself after him when I went on the ‘Apprentice’ to try to win the opportunity to run one of his companies, but the president, he’s different than the person I met back in 2003,” she said, adding that he has “some serious mental impairment.”
She maintained, however, that the president is still brilliant.
“You can actually have some levels of brilliance and have some semblance of mental decline as we see in the president,” she added.
Asked about the tapes Monday morning in an interview on Fox News, White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley disputed the suggestion that Manigault Newman was fired without Trump’s say-so but did not directly address why the president sounded surprised by the news on the recording.
“Listen, the president makes the decisions in this White House. I’m not going to get into the ticktock who knew what and when,” he said. “The president trusted her and gave his support for her, brought her into the White House, to a prominent position, and she’s abused that privilege.”
“Most Americans look at that and say, ‘Someone gave you the trust level to come into the White House, work for the administration, try and make America a better place for the American people,'” he continued. “And you just completely blew past that, ignored that for your own self-serving interests.’ It’s a horrible thing.”
The White House had previously denounced Manigualt Newman’s book, which is set to be released Tuesday, saying it is “riddled with lies.”
The president Monday afternoon began retweeting people, such as GOP strategist Frank Luntz and Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen, to refute claims from “Unhinged.”
“I’m in @OMAROSA’s book on page 149. She claims to have heard from someone who heard from me that I heard Trump use the N-word,” Luntz tweeted. “Not only is this flat-out false (I’ve never heard such a thing), but Omarosa didn’t even make an effort to call or email me to verify. Very shoddy work.”
In her book, Manigult Newman also claims she walked into the Oval Office and saw Trump eating a piece of paper after a meeting with Cohen, according to the Washington Post, which received excerpts from the book. She goes on to speculate that the paper must have contained highly secretive material.
Cohen tweeted that he “saw NO such thing and am shocked anyone would take this seriously.” The president retweeted the statement, despite blasting Cohen for also secretly recording and then releasing a conversation with the president.
During her media interviews on Monday, the former “Apprentice” villain said she thinks Trump is lying and did know she was fired, despite what the tape said.
“There were subsequent calls after that. There was a complete organization between the two of them, he probably instructed Gen. Kelly to do it so he’d keep his hands clean when he spoke to me,” Manigault Newman said on “Today.” “I’m wondering, is he sincere?”
Manigault Newman also implied that she is concerned whether Kelly is actually running the country or Trump is.
“He said he didn’t know and ‘they’ run a big operation. Who is the ‘they’?” she said, adding that it “should be alarming to any American” that the president didn’t know about the fate of an aide who has known him for 15 years.