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Former White House staffer under President Donald Trump and reality television star Omarosa Manigault joined Stephen Colbert on The Late Show Wednesday, where the CBS host asked her about her recent statement in regards to President Donald Trump’s presidency on reality television.
“It was part of a bigger discussion,” Manigault told Colbert. In early February she told fellow castmember and Celebrity Big Brother housemate Ross Mathews, “we’re not going to be OK” when discussing Trump’s White House.
“We were talking about immigration and roundups and particularly about a family of a man who had been in the country and was sent back,” Manigault told Colbert of the incident. “I believe that the immigration debate will continue. Its a very difficult and complicated subject. I don’t believe it can be resolved so simply.”
When Colbert pushed Manigault on what “was not going to be OK” and whether she was specifically referring to “DACA kids” or “immigrants” or “the rest of it,” Manigault said, “We have an opportunity to make it OK. I don’t want 15 seconds on a reality show to encapsulate such a serious subject.”
“I’ll ask you again,” the host replied. “Is everything going to be OK under Donald Trump?”
“We’ll have to wait and see,” answered Manigault.
Later on Friday, Manigault’s Celebrity Big Brother housemate, Mathews, disputed her account of the conversation about Trump on Twitter. “No shade, but Omarosa is mistaken,” Mathews wrote. “This convo was not about the Dreamers (we discussed that at another time). This convo was about President Trump. When asked, she said we would not be okay. Simple as that. Perhaps BB can release the unedited footage.”
No shade, but Omarosa is mistaken. This convo was not about the Dreamers (we discussed that at another time). This convo was about President Trump. When asked, she said we would not be okay. Simple as that. Perhaps BB can release the unedited footage. @colbertlateshow https://t.co/a5mppoktV6
— Ross Mathews (@helloross) March 1, 2018
On The Late Show, Colbert also asked why Manigault had said on Celebrity Big Brother that she was “haunted” by Trump’s tweets, inquiring specifically what it was about the tweets that haunted her.
“You know, he announced major policy issues on Twitter,” she responded. “The transgender ban, for instance, was announced on Twitter. I don’t know that that’s — for someone who’s in communications, that’s not a place where you want to find out at 5 in the morning … you want to find out in a policy briefing.”
Manigault analogized her relationship with Trump to that of a “friend,” saying that after 15 years of friendship she was excited to see him in the role of president and also “concerned.” She added, to Colbert, that he might feel the same way “if your best friend was president.”
“If my best friend was president, I would feel better,” Colbert quipped in response.
Colbert then asked Manigault to play a game in which she raised her hand in response to a mention of things Donald Trump “shouldn’t have done” as president. Manigault raised her hand immediately, saying, “Well, I should just start now. There are a lot of things.” Colbert listed actions including Trump’s response to the 2017 violence in Charlottesville, defending Alabama political candidate and alleged sexual abuser Roy Moore and attacking Arizona Sen. John McCain for being a prisoner of war, among other instances. Omarosa called all actions “awful,” “unacceptable” or “unequivocally awful.”
Finally, when pressed on her Celebrity Big Brother remarks comparing leaving the White House to “being freed from a plantation,” Manigault gave more detail as to what she meant.”The White House that I worked in, that Trump administration, it was troubling and it was very difficult. And my analogy of it being a plantation, of being oppressed is pretty clear: When you’re not allowed to do the job that you were meant to do … that’s what they analogy meant,” she said.
She then added that she saw the experience through that lens because “I was speaking about how I felt as the only African-American senior advisor to President Donald Trump.”
Feb. 28, 9:39 p.m. Updated to include Manigault’s full comments on The Late Show.
Feb. 28, 10:03 p.m. Updated to include Ross Mathews’ account of conversation.
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