President Donald Trump and former aide Omarosa Manigault Newman faced off Monday in a messy clash that involved an explosive tell-all book, secret recordings and plenty of insults — reviving their roles as reality show boss and villain. Trump accused Manigault Newman, the former White House liaison to black voters, as “wacky” and “not smart” after his former co-star revealed her recording of a phone conversation with the president during a media blitz for her new book. Beyond their war of words, the row touched on several sensitive issues in Trump’s White House, including a lack of racial diversity among senior officials, security in the executive mansion, a culture that some there feel borders on paranoia and the extraordinary measures used to keep ex-employees quiet. In an unusual admission, Trump acknowledged that the public sparring was perhaps beneath a person in his position, tweeting that he knew it was “not presidential” to take on “a lowlife like Omarosa.” But he added: “This is a modern day form of communication and I know the Fake News Media will be working overtime to make even Wacky Omarosa look legitimate as possible. Sorry!”
While I know it’s “not presidential” to take on a lowlife like Omarosa, and while I would rather not be doing so, this is a modern day form of communication and I know the Fake News Media will be working overtime to make even Wacky Omarosa look legitimate as possible. Sorry!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 13, 2018
The dispute has been building for days as Manigault Newman promotes her memoir “Unhinged,” which comes out officially Tuesday. The book paints a damning picture of Trump, including her claim that he used racial slurs on the set of his reality show “The Apprentice.”
In a series of interviews on NBC, Manigault Newman also revealed two audio recordings from her time at the White House, including portions of a recording of her firing by chief of staff John Kelly, which she says occurred in the high-security Situation Room, and a phone call with Trump after she was fired. Trump officials and a number of outside critics denounced the recordings as a serious breach of ethics and security — and White House aides worried about what else Manigault Newman may have captured in the West Wing.
The latest tape recording appears to show Trump expressing surprise about her firing, saying “nobody even told me about it.” But Manigault Newman said he “probably instructed General Kelly to do it.”