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One day after the White House announced her seemingly abrupt resignation, Omarosa Manigault Newman is speaking out to shed some light on the details surrounding her departure from President Donald Trump’s administration.
Manigault Newman, whose relationship with Trump dates back to her 2004 stint on his NBC reality series The Apprentice, served as his director of communications for the Office of Public Liaison. On Wednesday, the White House announced that she would be departing that role, effective Jan. 20, 2018.
Sitting down with ABC’s Michael Strahan on Good Morning America on Thursday, Manigault Newman addressed reports that she was fired in what has been referred to by multiple outlets on Wednesday as a dramatic exit.
“I resigned,” she told Strahan of her exit conversation with Chief of Staff John F. Kelly in the White House Situation Room. “We had a very candid conversation. I wanted to make the one-year mark, that was one of the goals I set out to, and then get back to my life.”
Manigault Newman denied that she confronted Kelly, as had been reported, but she did shed light on their relationship. Saying Kelly came in during a time of “turmoil,” she said she stood out to her new boss. “I am the only African-American woman who sits at the table with those 30 assistants to the president. We all had to adjust to his very different, militaristic style,” she said. Her role working on outreach to various constituency groups, including African-Americans, was clearly defined, but she still said: “Donald Trump chose me for his team. I’m not sure as John Kelly was starting to develop his team that that’s someone who wanted me to be on his team.”
She described her conversation with Kelly as a “straightforward discussion about concerns that I had, issues that I raised” and said she resigned as a result.”It will be taking place Jan. 20 when I leave this very interesting administration,” she added.
When pressed further, including on a Washington Post report that she was leaving over disappointment with how Trump handled both Charlottesville and his endorsing of Roy Moore, Manigault Newman promised to tell her full story when she has the chance.
“Because I am serving until the 20th I have to be very careful about how I answer this, but there were a lot of things that I observed during the last year that I was very unhappy with, that I was very uncomfortable with. Things that I observed, that I heard, that I listened to,” she said.
Saying she will have “quite a story to tell,” she continued, “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. It is a profound story that I know the world will want to hear.”
Highlighting that her role under Trump was her second tour of duty, as she also served in the Clinton administration, Manigault Newman said accomplishing her goal of unifying a divided nation in only 11 months would have been “almost impossible.”
“But did President Trump try? I think he tried in his own way,” she said. “There are things that he could have done and things that this administration needs to continue to do to try to bring this country together.”
Throughout the sitdown, Manigault Newman continued to press that the “interesting tales” surrounding her exit were “100 percent false.” She took specific issue with the reporting of her onetime friend, White House reporter and CNN contributor April Ryan, who reported from sources that Manigault Newman was shouting vulgarities and curse words as she was escorted out of the building and off campus.
Multiple outlets on Wednesday reported that the former Apprentice star caused a “high drama” disruption and had to be escorted off the White House grounds.
The U.S. Secret Service denied those reports via its Twitter handle, saying they only intervened to deactivate her pass that grants her access to the complex. Trump also thanked her for her services late Wednesday and wished her “continued success” in a tweet.
“I think you should take the word of the U.S. Secret Service over someone who has a personal vendetta to bring me down and that they personally gain to advance these false narratives,” said Manigault Newman, who said it was protocol for someone’s access to change and be restricted after announcing a departure. (Shortly after her appearance, Ryan appeared on CNN to stand by her reporting. “I’ve never had anyone say that there’s been a vendetta,” she said. “I’ve heard Republicans say I’m fair. I’ve heard Democrats say I’m fair. I’m doing my job.”)
After Strahan’s sitdown, he returned to the GMA desk to take his seat beside co-hosts Robin Roberts and George Stephanopoulos. Roberts was quick to dismiss the interview on-air, saying, “She said she has a story to tell and I’m sure she’ll be selling that story. She will. Bye Felicia.”
In response to Roberts’ comments, Manigault Newman later told Inside Edition she thought “that was petty,” adding, “It’s a black woman civil war.”
During Thursday’s news conference, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders could not answer how many African-Americans are in senior positions with Manigault Newman gone but said, “We have a very diverse team at the White House. It’s something that we strive for every day is to add and grow, to be more diverse and more representative of the country at large and we’re going to do that.” Sanders also fielded a question from Ryan about the possibility of a tell-all book, but Sanders didn’t have any additional comment. She said Manigault Newman would be returning to the White House later on Thursday and that she will be paid through her last day.
Dec. 14, 11:30 a.m. Updated with White House presser.
Dec. 14, 2:17 p.m. Updated with Manigault Newman’s response to Robin Robert’s comments.
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