Ex-'Apprentice' star Omarosa to tell all about White House
WASHINGTON (AP) - Former "Apprentice" star Omarosa is putting the White House on notice as she makes her exit: She has "quite a story to tell" about her time in President Donald Trump's administration and "the world will want to hear it."
Accustomed to the spotlight, Omarosa Manigault Newman appeared on national television Thursday to push back against reports that she was fired from her job as a Trump assistant and director of communications for a White House office that deals with constituent groups.
She also denied reports that she made a spectacle of herself while being escorted from the White House grounds, calling the stories "100 percent false" and questioning why photos or video of her alleged misbehavior had yet to surface.
Better known by just her first name, Manigault Newman told ABC's "Good Morning America" that she resigned this week after discussing some of her concerns with White House chief of staff John Kelly. The Secret Service said it had deactivated a pass granting her access to the White House complex, though White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Manigault Newman would be on staff through the administration's one-year mark.
Before her resignation, Kelly had advised Manigault Newman that changes were forthcoming - including her dismissal, according to two White House officials who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss personnel matters.
Manigault Newman was also expected to be at the White House on Thursday, Huckabee Sanders said. She declined to say for what purpose or to explain why the former reality TV contestant will collect a salary through Jan. 20, citing a policy of declining extensive comment on personnel matters.
"The president likes Omarosa, thanked her for her service," Sanders told reporters. "And, again, she'll be here later this afternoon, so she's resigned from her position, but there's really nothing else to add on that front."
Trump himself sang her praises when he was asked at an unrelated White House event about the resignation.
"I like Omarosa. Omarosa's a good person," he said.
Manigault Newman described her conversation with Kelly as being "very candid." A newlywed, she said she had a goal to make it to the administration's one-year mark and then "get back to my life."
Her life now seems destined to include writing a tell-all book about her time at the White House.
"When I have a chance to tell my story ... 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 have made me uncomfortable, that have upset me, that have affected me deeply and emotionally, that has affected my community and my people," she said. "And when I can tell my story, it is a profound story that I know the world will want to hear."
Sanders said Thursday was the first time she'd heard such comments from Manigault Newman.
Her resignation - she was Trump's most visible African-American adviser - immediately raised questions about diversity in the senior ranks of the White House. Manigault Newman said in a separate interview with ABC's "Nightline" that it was challenging being the only black woman in the senior staff.
She said most of the other senior advisers are white, had never worked with minorities and didn't know how to interact with them. She added that her departure will leave Trump without any African-American representation on his senior staff.
"There was a lack of diversity that I will acknowledge," she told the network for its program airing early Friday.
Sanders insisted at her briefing Thursday that the White House team is diverse "across the board."
Manigault Newman, who drew a top salary of $179,700, was a high-profile Trump supporter during the presidential campaign and the transition.
Since her stint as a contestant on the first season of Trump's former reality TV show, "The Apprentice," in 2004, Manigault Newman has enjoyed a close relationship with the New York businessman, even after he uttered his "You're fired" catchphrase and booted her from the program. She was portrayed as a cut-throat contestant during the season. She returned to Trump's "Apprentice" franchise several times and appeared on other reality TV shows.