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Omarosa Manigault Newman, memorable from her appearances on NBC’s The Apprentice and now known as one of President Donald Trump’s most prominent African-American supporters, is leaving her job at the White House next month.
The White House announced her plans to leave the administration, effective one year after Trump’s inauguration, early Wednesday morning. “Omarosa Manigault Newman resigned yesterday to pursue other opportunities,” press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. “Her departure will not be effective until January 20, 2018. We wish her the best in future endeavors and are grateful for her service.”
Manigault Newman’s departure follows national security aide Dina Powell and is widely believed to be the beginning of more administration departures heading into 2018. The news also comes one day after Democrat Doug Jones’ stunning upset over Trump-endorsed GOP candidate Roy Moore in the Alabama Senate race.
Manigault Newman has yet to comment on the decision, and Wednesday reports indicated that the exit may not have been her decision.
The Wall Street Journal described her departure as abrupt and cited an anonymous White House official who said she was “physically dragged and escorted off the campus” Tuesday evening. (Manigault Newman did not respond to WSJ‘s request for comment. When reached by the New York Times on Wednesday, Manigault Newman referred the reporter to Sanders’ statement about her departure.)
White House reporter April Ryan reported that Manigault Newman was fired by chief of staff John Kelly. “She was very upset and said she wanted to speak to the president,” said Ryan in her report. Quoting sources, Ryan reported that Kelly said, “This is not like going to the principal’s office” and told Manigault Newman that Trump had signed off on the decision. That prompted Manigault Newman to grow “vulgar” in her response and, according to Ryan, she told Kelly she had brought the black vote to Trump. She then tried to get into Trump’s residence and was stopped and escorted off campus by Secret Service, according to Ryan.
Ryan also took to Twitter to say, “The White House still contends Omarosa signed a resignation letter. But Gen Kelly Kicked her out will high drama with the Minister offering vulgarities and curse words as she was escorted out of the building and off campus.” [sic]
Ryan, who also discussed her reporting on CNN Wednesday afternoon (below), added that it’s unclear whether Manigault Newman will perform any further duties between now and her official final day on Jan. 20.
Late Wednesday night, the Secret Service addressed the reports on its official Twitter account. “Reporting regarding Secret Service personnel physically removing Omarosa Manigault Newman from the White House complex is incorrect,” read the tweet. “The Secret Service was not involved in the termination process of Ms Manigault Newman or the escort off of the complex. Our only involvement in this matter was to deactivate the individual’s pass which grants access to the complex.”
Manigault Newman first met Trump in 2004 on the set of The Apprentice and rose to reality television infamy over her “villain” role on the series. She reappeared on subsequent seasons of spinoff Celebrity Apprentice and on dating show The Ultimate Merger, which Trump co-produced. After joining Trump’s transition team late last year, she joined Trump’s administration as director of communications for the Office of Public Liaison, working on outreach to various constituency groups including African-Americans.
When penning a guest column for The Hollywood Reporter in December, the former reality star went to bat for an “open-minded” Trump and praised his hiring of female executives. “He does not judge people on their gender or race. He judges them on their ability to do the job,” she wrote.
She said of her role under Trump at the time: “I’m on the presidential transition team in what is called national engagement. He has given me a personal directive that with the 4,000 jobs we need to fill, he wants his administration to be the most diverse in history. And LGBT is absolutely part of diversity. He wants it to look like America. There’s only one responsibility: diversity for the transition. It’s an extension of the job I had before when I was his campaign’s director for African-American outreach. He spoke very openly at the convention about his desire that there be equality for LGBT people, for all people. These are things that have come out of his own mouth.”
On Wednesday evening, Trump tweeted a farewell to Manigault: “Thank you Omarosa for your service! I wish you continued success.”
Dec. 13, 11:50 a.m. Updated with Wednesday reports.
Dec. 13, 5:37 p.m. Updated with Trump’s tweet.
Dec. 14, 6:30 a.m. Updated with Secret Service tweets.
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