Omarosa Manigault-Newman, former White House aide and author of the upcoming book Unhinged: An Insider’s Account of the Trump White House, appeared on the TODAY show with Savannah Guthrie Monday morning, where she presented another tape regarding her firing from the Trump administration.
In this tape, allegedly recorded shortly after the conversation with Chief of Staff John Kelly that ended Manigault-Newman’s White House career, the president is heard saying he had no knowledge of Manigault-Newman’s firing.
“Nobody even told me about it,” said the president, according to the recording. “You know they run a big operation but I didn’t know it. I didn’t know that. Goddamn it. I don’t love you leaving at all.”
On TODAY, Manigault-Newman said it should be “alarming to any American-that the president of the United States does not know what’s happening,” but states she believes Trump is lying on this recording.
Manigault-Newman speculates that Trump instructed Kelly to fire her to “keep his hands clean,” but also questions “Is General Kelly running this country, or is the president running this country?”
Trump responded to Manigault-Newman’s comments on Twitter Monday morning, saying, “People in the White House hated her. She was vicious, but not smart.”
Manigault-Newman was fired by Chief of Staff John Kelly last year. In the days before the release of her book, which she claims is a tell-all about the corruption of Trump’s White House, Manigault-Newman has revealed tapes she secretly recorded during her time as an aide.
Kelly delivered the news to Manigault-Newman in the Situation Room, which is supposed to be one of the most secure rooms in the White House. On Manigault-Newman’s tape of the conversation, released Sunday, Kelly is heard citing “significant integrity issues” as the reason for her firing.
Manigault-Newman defended her integrity in Monday morning’s interview, when Guthrie directly questioned why Manigault-Newman worked for Trump if she knew him to be a liar.
“Savannah, slow down,” was Manigault-Newman’s response. “I never expected him to lie to the country… He absolutely has an issue with the truth, and sometimes he battles with reality.”
Manigault-Newman was hesitant to answer questions directly related to her personal actions, instead focusing on the actions of Kelly and the Trump administration. She refused to reveal how she recorded her conversation with Kelly in the Situation Room, but repeatedly mentioned how she was “locked” into the conference room. She accused Kelly of “false imprisonment,” telling Guthrie to “wait” and “calm down” whenever the interviewer attempted to interject.
As for the potential legal repercussions of secretly taping within one of the most secure White House conference rooms—an action she said she felt she needed to take to protect her own credibility—Manigault-Newman says she’s not worried. According to her, there are “protections afforded” to her for blowing the whistle on those in the White House.
Manigault-Newman recently called Trump a racist, saying she’s heard tapes from his time on the set of The Apprentice where he used the n-word. On the TODAY show, Guthrie played a recording of Manigault-Newman from the day after her firing, where, on ABC, she said Trump is not a racist, and that she “would never sit or work for someone who [she] believed to be a racist.”
According to Manigault-Newman, she was “terrified” after her conversation with Kelly, who she says threatened her future. Therefore, she felt she needed to speak carefully at the time.
Manigault-Newman cut the interview with Guthrie short, but not before stating that her book’s title, “Unhinged,” refers to Trump, who she believes is not “mentally competent” for the role of president.