White House defends its diversity amid Omarosa exit

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Thursday defended the Trump administration’s diversity amid the departure of aide Omarosa Manigault Newman, one of the most visible African-Americans in the White House.

Sanders said the White House has a diverse team across all departments, but couldn’t say how many senior officials are black.

"We have a really diverse team across the board at the White House,” Sanders told reporters at the daily press briefing.


"We always want to continue to grow the diversity here. Something that we strive for everyday is to add and grow to be more diverse and more representative of the country at-large and we’re going to continue to do that.”

Only one Cabinet member, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben CarsonBenjamin (Ben) Solomon CarsonHUD drafting rule to require carbon monoxide detectors in public housing Treasury offers new guidance on opportunity zones HUD chief Carson leaves Dem lawmaker exasperated with answer on LGBT protections MORE, is black.

When asked who will fill the role of African-American outreach, Sanders said there will be a “number of people” involved in that process. She also noted that there are people inside and outside of the White House who have already been part of those efforts.

“This wasn’t something that was a singular effort by any one individual,” Huckabee Sanders said, specifically pointing to Trump's work with Carson and Sen. Tim ScottTimothy (Tim) Eugene ScottGOP senators dismiss Booker reparations proposal On The Money — Presented by Job Creators Network — GOP senators urge Trump not to nominate Cain | Treasury expected to miss Dem deadline on Trump tax returns | Party divisions force Dems to scrap budget vote | House passes IRS reform bill GOP senators urge Trump not to pick Cain for Fed MORE (R-S.C.).

“I know [Trump] wants to continue those conversations as well to look at the best ways to do that and to do outreach to that community.”

Sanders also backed up the White House’s statement that Manigault Newman resigned from her position and was not fired, despite reports that she left cursing and screaming after being given her walking papers by chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE.

“As I said, Omarosa resigned from her position. I’m not going to go into a detailed process further than that. I’m not going to get into the weeds of a personnel decision,” she said.

Manigault Newman has denied reports that she had to be escorted off of White House grounds, but said Thursday she has "quite a story to tell" about her tenure.

"I'm not going to expand on it because I still have to go back and work with these individuals, but when I have a chance to tell my story, Michael, quite a story to tell as the only African-American woman in this White House as a senior staff and assistant to the president, I have seen things that made me uncomfortable, that have upset me, that have affected me deeply and emotionally, that has affected my community and my people. And when I can tell my story, it is a profound story that I know the world will want to hear," she told Michael Strahan on ABC’s “Good Morning America.”

Jordan Fabian contributed.