Journalist: Omarosa ‘physically intimidated’ me

Journalist: Omarosa ‘physically intimidated’ me
© Getty Images

A White House reporter says Trump administration official Omarosa Manigault “physically intimidated” her in a manner that could have required Secret Service intervention.

“She stood right up in my face like she was going to hit me,” April Ryan told The Washington Post Monday. "I said, ‘You better back up.’ ”

“She thought I would be bullied,” added Ryan, who is the White House correspondent for American Urban Radio Networks (AURN). "I won’t be.

ADVERTISEMENT

“It’s just ugly. She’s trying to harm my integrity and my career. I’ve been [covering the White House] for 20 years. I plan to be here for the next 20 years. You don’t mess with someone’s livelihood.”

The Post said Manigault and Ryan had a heated argument outside White House press secretary Sean Spicer’s West Wing office the afternoon of Feb. 8.

White House press office staffers witnessed the confrontation mere steps from the Oval Office, as did Post report Abby Phillip.

Phillip said Monday that she did not hear the pair’s entire exchange, saying Ryan told her afterward that Manigault’s behavior was “Secret Serviceable,” or at a level requiring law enforcement intervention.

Manigault claimed during the incident that Ryan is among several African-American journalists who are the subject of White House “dossiers,” according to the AURN reporter. 

“I said, ‘Good for you, good for you, good for you,’ ” Ryan added, dismissing Manigault's claim.

Manigault declined to address the accusations on the record in a statement late Monday.

“My comment: Fake news!” said Manigault, an assistant to the president and director of communications for the Office of Public Liaison.

The Post said Manigault, who also led Trump’s outreach to African-American voters during the 2016 presidential race, did not specify what she considered false about the report. 

The newspaper added that Manigault and Ryan were once friends, with the former asking the latter to serve as a bridesmaid in her future wedding. Ryan reportedly declined the invitation.

The two women had a falling out once Manigault sent Ryan two emails last October questioning whether she was being paid by 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonDe Blasio pitches himself as tough New Yorker who can take on 'Don the con' From dive bars to steakhouses: How Iowa caucus staffers blow off steam Warren policy ideas show signs of paying off MORE’s campaign.

Manigault included a link to an Intercept article detailing the Clinton camp’s efforts to secure favorable media coverage by “manipulating” reporters.

Ryan’s name appeared in a separate list of journalists Clinton’s team hoped to sway, the Post said, but were not paid by the Clintons.

“This story suggests that as a reporter, you are (or were) a paid Clinton surrogate,” Manigault wrote in the first email. "I pray this is not true! This could be hurtful to your legacy and the integrity of your work.”

“You have worked too hard to have people question your ethics as a reporter,” she added in a second email sent minutes after her first. "It’s hurtful to hear people say those things about you."

— This report was updated on Feb. 14 at 7:40 a.m.