Former White House aide Cliff Sims is suing President Donald Trump for improperly going after him over his new book about the Trump administration.
After Sims — the former director of White House message strategy and special assistant to the president — published a tell-all memoir about the Trump administration titled Team of Vipers: My 500 Extraordinary Days in the Trump White House last month, the president’s campaign organization filed an arbitration claim accusing him of violating the terms of a nondisclosure agreement he signed during the 2016 presidential race.
In Sims’ lawsuit, filed in a federal court in Washington D.C. on Monday, the former White House staffer argued that Trump utilized his campaign organization as a “private surrogate” for the federal government in order to restrict his First Amendment rights, reported the New York Times.
Sims notes in the lawsuit that he doesn’t remember whether he signed a nondisclosure agreement when he began working for Trump and goes on to allege that the president sought “to impose civil liability against Sims through the application of NDAs that apply to information Mr. Sims learned solely during his federal service.”
Sims also asserts that Trump appears to have been arbitrarily enforcing nondisclosure agreements. The lawsuit pointed out that the president attempted to enforce a nondisclosure agreement with former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman after she released a tell-all book about her experiences while serving the Trump administration but didn’t do so when former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer dropped his book.
“The Trump campaign’s demand for arbitration is nothing but a subterfuge for the actions of the [federal government],” the suit claimed, according to the Times, and was “undertaken under express authorization and instruction, and certainly with the blessing of, President Trump.”
It added: “These actions sufficiently and constructively qualify as state action for purposes of First Amendment jurisdictional authority.”
When Sims’ book dropped last month, Trump attempted to discredit it by claiming that he “hardly knew” the former White House aide. “A low level staffer that I hardly knew named Cliff Sims wrote yet another boring book based on made up stories and fiction,” the president tweeted. “He pretended to be an insider when in fact he was nothing more than a gofer. He signed a non-disclosure agreement. He is a mess!”
Shortly after, Sims fired back at the president, disproving his comments with multiple photos posted to social media that showed himself and Trump during their time together in the White House.
"Team of Vipers: My 500 Extraordinary Days in the Trump White House" is out today, written by the most famous "gofer" in the world! Enjoy! https://t.co/Eovn8jMVhk pic.twitter.com/V013bIe0r2
— Cliff Sims (@Cliff_Sims) January 29, 2019