Omarosa book raises questions on what the top-paid White House official actually did
Where does the President Trump's feud with fired White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman go from here? Insight from criminal defense attorney Bob Bianchi.
Omarosa Manigault Newman raked in $179,700 a year at the White House – the top salary for a presidential aide, on the same level as chief of staff, press secretary and national security adviser.
But Manigault Newman’s new book – where she trashes President Trump, accusing him of being racist and mentally unstable – raises questions about what exactly she did at work every day as director of communications for the Office of Public Liaison.
The book, “Unhinged,” is heavy on score-settling and rehashing of personal feuds but devotes far less text to the specific issues and policy areas she was hired to work on. And those she claims to have worked closely with are suggesting she exaggerated her role in the book.
“I didn't really interact with her that much,” former White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Monday on Fox News' “America’s Newsroom.” “She came and she would sit in meetings from time to time. It wasn't like we were close by any means.”
But in the book, Manigault Newman claimed to have spent a large portion of her day with Spicer.
Describing a typical day at the White House, she claimed she huddled in Spicer’s office at 7:30 a.m.; joined Spicer and other senior staff for a meeting in the chief of staff’s office at 8 a.m.; went back to Spicer’s office to prep for his daily press briefings at 11 a.m.; attended Spicer’s daily briefing at 1 p.m; and returned to Spicer’s office for a “wrap up” meeting at 6 p.m.
But Trump tweeted this week that Manigault Newman, who had her own assistant in the White House, was a poor employee who was often absent.
“I would rarely see her but heard really bad things,” he said. “Nasty to people & would constantly miss meetings & work.”
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....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 13, 2018
...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!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 13, 2018
In the book, she described how Chief of Staff John Kelly called her out, before firing her, for using the official White House car service to get to the Washington Nationals stadium for the annual Congressional Baseball Game.
Kelly, she said, accused her of abusing the service. But she argued it was appropriate because she was at the game, along with other aides, on “official business.”
“I didn't really interact with her that much"- Former White House press secretary Sean Spicer
According to the White House, the Office of Public Liaison is “the primary line of communication between the White House and the public.”
She described her job largely as being in close proximity to the president during public events, also writing that she spent her day “running all over the complex, from one meeting to another, all day long and deep into the evening.”
“Throughout the first one hundred days, whenever the president had a listening session in the Roosevelt Room, I was always standing nearby,” Manigault Newman wrote. “When he signed an [executive order] that related to diversity, women, veterans, any [Office of Public Liaison] group – from truckers to college presidents – I was in the Oval or other locations with him.”
She also boasted of talking with the president “three to four times a week.”
“Whenever I took point on an event – for example, going to the Smithsonian during Black History Month—I briefed him at least twice before each one,” she said.
Manigault Newman also wrote she was tasked with reaching out to the black community on the White House’s behalf. She spent her time “working as hard and as fast as I could,” she claimed, saying “my schedule during Black History Month alone exhausts me just writing about it.”
But she most often got attention in the news for missteps, like when she committed a faux pas in dealing with the Congressional Black Caucus in 2017.
The CBC posted a screenshot of her letter to them at the time where the aide referred to herself as “The Honorable Omarosa Manigault Newman” – an honorific usually reserved for elected officials like the president and lawmakers or appointed officials like federal judges or Cabinet members.
She wrote that part of her job was talking to reporters, to give them background information or context about administration policies. But some journalists still say they never fully understood what her role was.
Infamously, the Daily Beast spent a day with Manigault Newman at the White House, reporting that there was “confusion about Omarosa’s precise role” in the administration and that she spent the work day planning her bridal luncheon.
“Sarah Sanders repeats the claim that the press wouldn't give Omarosa the time of day when she was on good terms with Trump,” tweeted Robert Maguire of the Center for Responsive Politics. “That's not true. The press spent much of Omarosa's time in the White House trying to figure out WHAT HER JOB WAS.”
Alex Pappas is a politics reporter at FoxNews.com. Follow him on Twitter at @AlexPappas.