Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 24 May 2019

Omarosa saga: Trump labels former female White House aide a ‘dog’

The former reality TV contestant-cum-employee released audio of key conversations that aim to embarrass

Omarosa Manigault-Newman, left, appears alongside Donald Trump during his US presidential campaign, at a press conference in 2015. AFP
Omarosa Manigault-Newman, left, appears alongside Donald Trump during his US presidential campaign, at a press conference in 2015. AFP

Donald Trump described his former employee Omarosa Manigault-Newman as a “dog” on Tuesday as their ugly dispute over the White House tapes, a revealing memoir and racist slurs revived their duelling roles as reality show boss and TV villain.

The latest twist came after Ms Manigault-Newman released audio recordings from her time in the White House and publicised her book, Unhinged, in which she claims Mr Trump used the N-word while filming The Apprentice.

The president’s response has been to publicly denigrate one of the few African-Americans to work on his staff.

“When you give a crazed, crying lowlife a break, and give her a job at the White House, I guess it just didn’t work out,” he wrote on Twitter. “Good work by General Kelly for quickly firing that dog!”

Their row has highlighted a string of awkward issues for Mr Trump’s administration, including a lack of racial diversity among staffers, questions about security and a culture of paranoia.

Ms Manigault-Newman rose to infamy as an outspoken, sharp-elbowed competitor on the first season of The Apprentice in 2004. She grew into her role of TV villain with a series of high-profile clashes on The Celebrity Apprentice, much to Mr Trump’s amusement.

“Omarosa always promises and delivers high drama,” he once wrote on Twitter.

That reputation followed her to the White House last year when she was appointed director of communications for the office of public liaison. She was fired in December.

Her tell-all memoir, published on Tuesday, accuses Mr Trump of using racial slurs and says recordings exist of him using the N-word.

In interviews with NBC she also released audio recordings of her time at the White House. In one, which she said was made inside the high-security situation room, chief of staff John Kelly can be heard apparently offering her the chance to resign before being fired.

"Unhinged," the new tell-all book by former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman, is for sale at the Politics and Prose bookstore in Washington, DC, on August 14, 2018. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP)
"Unhinged," the new tell-all book by former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman. AFP

“It's come to my attention over the last few months that there's been some pretty, in my opinion, significant integrity issues related to you," he says.

Ms Manigault-Newman said she recorded key conversations – including a phone call with the president in which he says no one told him she had been fired – to protect her from what she said were threats.

She also claimed she had been offered $15,000 (Dh55,000) a month to work on Mr Trump’s re-election campaign and sign a non-disclosure agreement, which she said was an attempt to silence her.

However, her actions attracted widespread condemnation for raising the risk that confidential conversations could leak from inside the White House’s most secure room. Critics of Mr Trump said it exposed security flaws, as well as the deep dysfunction of his team.

David Axelrod, who served as Barack Obama’s chief campaign strategist, said: “Everyone says the @realDonaldTrump WH is like reality TV. But it feels more like The Jerry Springer Show, with unsympathetic, estranged friends and relatives learning of betrayals, throwing punches and chairs at each other.”

Rudy Giuliani, Mr Trump’s attorney, said the recordings may have broken the law.

“She’s certainly violating national security regulations, which I think have the force of law,” he told Fox and Friends TV programme.

As the argument about White House ethics, staffing and security rumble on, Mr Trump has taken to publicly deriding his former employee.

“Wacky Omarosa, who got fired 3 times on the Apprentice, now got fired for the last time,” he wrote on Monday. “She never made it, never will.

“She begged me for a job, tears in her eyes, I said OK. People in the White House hated her.”

Officials fear Ms Manigault-Newman has more audio tapes that she is planning to release, suggesting this made-for-TV drama could run and run.

Updated: August 15, 2018 10:29 AM