WASHINGTON — Omarosa Manigault Newman, the former “Apprentice” contestant and one of President Donald Trump’s advisers, is resigning and plans to leave her White House position next month.
“Omarosa Manigault Newman resigned yesterday to pursue other opportunities,” said White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. “Her departure will not be effective until January 20, 2018. We wish her the best in future endeavors and are grateful for her service.”
The Secret Service said that they deactivated her pass to the White House, meaning that she is no longer working at the complex.
Newman, outspoken in her support of Trump during the presidential campaign, was assistant to the president and director of communications for the Office of Public Liaison. She was a key figure in interacting with African-American and women’s groups.
Her resignation came on the same day as the defeat of Roy Moore for a Senate seat in Alabama, but the White House gave no indication that it was related to the loss. Trump embraced Moore, but exit polls showed that African American voters almost unanimously favored his opponent, Democrat Doug Jones.
A number of White House officials are expected to depart at the one-year mark.
Before starting in her post, Newman told Variety last January that the job “gives me a lot of ability to help on issues related to diverse communities throughout the administration.” She said that she would work to “try to heal the divide that came out of this campaign and try to set an environment that is conducive to that healing.”
But her tenure had contentious moments. Last summer, she sparred with a panelist at the National Association of Black Journalists convention in a conversation about the criminal justice system and police brutality.
She was among Trump’s most steadfast celebrity defenders during the campaign. She was well known for appearing on “The Apprentice” in the first season, and was a frequent spokesperson for the campaign. She had a lower-key role at the White House, and had a salary of almost $180,000.
Armstrong Williams told The New York Times said Newman told him that she had not been fired from her position, and that she sounded “relieved” and “torn” at the decision.
“The president is very fond of Omarosa,” he told the Times. “He saw her best qualities. He knew her shortcomings. He gave her a chance. He rewarded her for loyalty. He paid her well and gave her a lot of leeway.”
Update: The Secret Service issued a statement denying reports that they were involved and escorted her off the White House premises. April Ryan of Urban Radio Networks, who has sparred with Newman in the past, reported that she was fired by White House chief of staff John Kelly, and the Wall Street Journal and CBS News followed with their own reports.
“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,” the agency said in a statement.
CBS News reported that she “did not like the terms of her firing and tried to have that decision changed.” The network reported that she was escorted out of the White House after attempting to enter the residence.
Trump tweeted later on Wednesday, “Thank you Omarosa for your service! I wish you continued success.”