In the recording, made last December, Trump appears to be surprised that she is departing. NBC’s “Today” played the recording on Monday, along with an interview with Manigault Newman. She is in the midst of promoting her new book, “Unhinged: An Insider’s Account of the Trump White House.”
“Omarosa, what’s going on? I just saw on the news that you’re thinking about leaving? What happened?” Trump asks her.
“General Kelly – General Kelly came to me and said that you guys wanted me to leave,” Manigault Newman responds.
“No… I, I – Nobody even told me about it,” Trump says.
“Wow,” she replies, to which Trump says, “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.”
NBC News said that it does not know what was said before or after the clip.
Trump tweeted about the recording on Monday morning, writing, “Wacky Omarosa, who got fired 3 times on the Apprentice, now got fired for the last time. She never made it, never will. She begged me for a job, tears in her eyes, I said Ok. People in the White House hated her. She was vicious, but not smart. I would rarely see her but heard…. really bad things. Nasty to people & would constantly miss meetings & work. When Gen. Kelly came on board he told me she was a loser & nothing but problems. I told him to try working it out, if possible, because she only said GREAT things about me – until she got fired!”
He added later, “While I know it’s ‘not presidential’ to take on a lowlife like Omarosa, and while I would rather not be doing so, this is a modern day form of communication and I know the Fake News Media will be working overtime to make even Wacky Omarosa look legitimate as possible. Sorry!” In a fourth tweet on Monday, Trump wrote that she had a “fully signed non-disclosure agreement.” There are doubts that such an agreement would be enforceable for the tenure of a public official.
On Saturday, Trump called Manigault Newman a “lowlife,” and on Sunday, the White House condemned a recording she made of her actual firing by Kelly in the situation room. No recording devices are allowed in that area of the building.
Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that “the very idea a staff member would sneak a recording device into the White House situation room shows a blatant disregard for our national security, and then to brag about it on national television further proves the lack of character and integrity of this disgruntled former employee.”
In the recording, Kelly told Manigault Newman that she was being dismissed for “pretty serious integrity violations.” She joined the administration at the start, and her duties included serving as a communications official tasked with outreach to the African American community. Her title was assistant to the president, and she earned a salary of close to $180,000 per year.
In a sometimes contentious interview on “Today,” Manigault Newman said that she was locked in the situation room “for almost two hours” and “when I asked to leave and I asked for counsel and I asked for my husband, why was I denied at least four times.”
Even though Trump claimed not to know about her firing, Manigault Newman said that she believes that “he probably instructed General Kelly to do it so he could keep his hands clean when he spoke to me.”
The disclosure that she recorded Kelly in the situation room, where all visitors are expected to leave their cell phones at specially designated lockers, raised alarms among some former national security officials. Ned Price, spokesman for the National Security Council under President Barack Obama, wrote on Twitter, “Why was she there in the first place? Why did John Kelly, who has a large, private office, feel that was the best place to fire her? This is bigger than Omarosa. It’s a culture of disregard for our natl security.”
“There’s a misimpression that it’d be difficult to sneak a phone into the Sit Room,” he said. “It wouldn’t be. It’s a system built on trust. These are supposed to be the finest public servants we have. The WH wasn’t designed for the Omarosas of the world. Sad we now have to accommodate them.”
When asked how she recorded that conversation, Manigault Newman told “Today” host Savannah Guthrie that “I will just leave that to your imagination. I’m not being coy. I’m being very clear here. It is not acceptable for four men to take a woman into a room, lock the door and tell her ‘wait,’ and tell her that she cannot leave.” She said that “the moment I said I would like to leave and they said I cannot do it became false imprisonment …and there are other people who have been treated this way by General Kelly.”
She added, “There’s a lot of very corrupt things that have been happening at this White House. I am going to blow the whistle on a lot of this.”
Manigault Newman also suggested that she had legal protection as a whistleblower.
In the “Today” interview, she again insisted that she heard a tape in which Trump uses the “N-word.” She said that the recording was made during the production of “The Apprentice,” and Trump was talking about African Americans in the production. She claimed that the existence of the tape came up in 2016 during the campaign, and that Trump press staff had a conference to talk about it. She said that one of the press staff, Katrina Pierson, said that she heard from a “credible source” that Trump said it. But Pierson said on Sunday that she “never heard President Trump ever use the derogatory language that Omarosa claims” and never confirmed the existence of the tape.