Omarosa allegations put White House on defense

Omarosa allegations put White House on defense
© Greg Nash

The White House on Sunday sought to undermine the credibility of former White House aide Omarosa Manigault NewmanOmarosa Onee Manigault NewmanSales of political books up 25 percent in 2018: report Woodward book breaks 93-year publishing record Stormy Daniels announces new tell-all book: 'Full Disclosure' MORE, who has roiled the Trump administration with accusations that the president is racist and the disclosure that she recorded a conversation inside the Situation Room.

"The first time I ever heard Omarosa suggest those awful things about this president are in this book. And I think that Omarosa unfortunately has undercut her own credibility," White House counselor Kellyanne ConwayKellyanne Elizabeth ConwayTrump Jr. to Dem Senator: 'You admitted to hitting your wife so hard it gave her a black eye!' Conway to CNN's Cuomo in heated debate: 'I'll walk away' if you continue to interrupt me On The Money: Cohen reportedly questioned over Trump dealings with Russia | Trump hails economy | Tells workers to 'start looking' if they want a better job | Internal poll shows tax law backfiring on GOP MORE said on ABC's "This Week."

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"I have never a single time heard him use a racial slur about anyone," she continued. "I also never heard Omarosa complain that he had done that. And so the only thing that’s changed is that she’s now selling books." 

Manigault Newman appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press” in her first major network interview to promote her upcoming memoir, "Unhinged: An Insider Account of the Trump White House." In the book, Manigault Newman, who is black, makes incendiary allegations that Trump is a racist, misogynist and narcissist who is unable to handle the rigors of the job.

"I was complicit with this White House deceiving this nation," Manigault Newman said

"They continue to deceive this nation with how mentally declined he is, how difficult it is for him to process complex information, how he is not engaged in some of the most important decisions that impacts our country," she continued.

The former White House aide rocked Washington on Sunday with the revelation that she taped chief of staff John KellyJohn Francis KellyMORE in the White House Situation Room during her firing in December.

While secretly recording conversations in the Situation Room goes against protocol and may be unprecedented, Manigault Newman asserted she did it for her own protection.

"This is a White House where everybody lies," she said. "If I didn't have this recording, listen, people would still think that I was trying to set off alarms. So yes I had to protect myself and I have no regret about it."

Excerpts from Manigault Newman’s book first leaked late last week, putting the White House on the defensive against yet another insider’s account of alleged dysfunction and incompetence inside the Trump administration.

Like with the release of Michael Wolff’s book “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House” earlier this year, Trump and the White House quickly attacked Manigault Newman and sought to paint her as a disgruntled former employee. 

“Instead of telling the truth about all the good President TrumpDonald John TrumpSunday shows preview: Trump sells U.N. reorganizing and Kavanaugh allegations dominate Ex-Trump staffer out at CNN amid “false and defamatory accusations” Democrats opposed to Pelosi lack challenger to topple her MORE and his administration are doing to make America safe and prosperous, this book is riddled with lies and false accusations," White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement on Friday. 

“Lowlife. She’s a lowlife,” Trump said Saturday of Manigault Newman, who rose to fame as a recurring contestant on Trump's reality show "The Apprentice."

Conway said on "Fox News Sunday" that Trump feels "very betrayed" by Manigault Newman's comments, pointing to their relationship that dates back more than a decade.

"I think he believes it's a low blow to write a book riddled with lies and accusations and insinuations, whether 30 pieces of silver or a seven-figure book, for you, your publicists, your ghostwriters, all that's changed was this book deal and her being fired," she said.

Marc Short, who left his post last month as the White House's legislative affairs director, expressed dismay on ABC that Manigault Newman's book is being taken seriously at all.

"The media ridiculed and mocked Omarosa for the full year plus that she was in the White House," Short said. "And now she writes a book and all of a sudden she’s like an oracle."

Multiple networks pointed out on Sunday that Manigault Newman was effusive in her praise of Trump before, during and immediately after her White House stint.

She famously said following the 2016 election that the president’s critics would have to “bow down.”

Upon her rocky departure, she denied in an interview that Trump is racist because "I would never sit nor work for someone who I believe to be a racist."

Manigault Newman’s memoir contains a number of explosive claims, some of which are unsourced.

She provided proof of a nondisclosure agreement as evidence that she was offered $15,000 a month in exchange for her silence about her time in the White House.

She also claims Trump used the “N-word” repeatedly on the set of “The Apprentice." While she wrote in her book that she had not heard the tapes, she said on NBC Sunday that she has heard such recordings since the book went to print.

The tapes, she said, confirm Trump "is a con and has been masquerading as someone who is actually open to engaging with diverse communities but when he talks that way, the way he did on this tape, it confirmed that he is truly a racist."

Sunday marked the first anniversary of the deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Va. The president infamously asserted following the event that there were “very fine people” among the white nationalists, and that “both sides” were to blame for the violence.

The anniversary has prompted lawmakers and activists to re-examine how Trump — who has been accused on multiple occasions of using racist or racially charged language since he started campaigning for the presidency — has impacted race relations in the U.S.

On ABC's "This Week," Conway struggled to respond when anchor Jon Karl pressed her over who Trump's most prominent black staffer is since Manigault Newman was fired late last year.

"We have Ja'ron," Conway responded. She offered no last name or additional information, but was apparently referring to Ja'Ron Smith, who was named a special assistant to the president in February.

"There are plenty of people — if you’re going by that and not by the actions of the president, which you probably should, then you should look at the fact that we have a number of different minorities," Conway said. "And the fact is that this president is doing well for all Americans."