Omarosa Manigault Newman in her book, Unhinged, characterizes the US president as a bigot, sexist and racist who has been caught on mic using the N-word “multiple times”. This is the verdict of the woman who was his director of African American outreach during the 2016 presidential election, then the most senior African American on his staff until her sudden departure last December.
Manigault Newman, who embraced the role “villain” on The Apprentice, said in 2015: “When you have a big reality TV star as the front-runner for the Republican nomination there is no way to separate it. This is the new reality.” Her memoir offers a glimpse of a reality TV candidacy and presidency full of chaos, egos, internecine warfare and mendacity.
But Press secretary Sarah Sanders claimed: “This book is riddled with lies and false accusations”. She added: “It’s sad that a disgruntled former White House employee is trying to profit off these false attacks.”
There is more to come, however. Manigault Newman is due to appear on NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday and then embark on a lengthy publicity tour that could further damage the man she once regarded as a mentor. Barack Obama was sworn in using Bibles that belonged to Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr. But the use of a Bible, though common, is not compulsory for US presidents taking the oath of office. Manigault Newman claims Trump, who loves to upend Washington norms, considered being sworn in on his own bestselling business book.
The US president’s favorite child is not difficult to guess. In 2006 he infamously said: “I’ve said if Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her. Isn’t that terrible?”
Manigault Newman got to see the relationship up close.“For as long as I’d known Trump, I’d observed the way he hugs, touches, and kisses Ivanka; the way she calls him Daddy. In my opinion, based on my observations, their relationship goes up to the line of appropriate father/daughter behavior and jumps right over it,” she writes.
Trump “covets” his daughter, the author continues, while she exploits her status as “Daddy’s little girl” to get her way. Contrary to her public image, Ivanka has the “worst potty mouth”, Manigault Newman writes.
The author recalls an incident in which musician Gene Simmons, a friend of Trump, talked about Ivanka in a room full of people, “leering openly at her breasts” and declaring: “She’s a very, very sexy, desirable young woman who I’m looking forward to getting to know much better if you know what I mean, with all due respect.” Trump egged him on, the book says.
Manigault Newman has a Pecker story of her own. After her brother Jack was murdered in October 2011, she spoke at his funeral, not realising that the National Enquirer had sent a reporter, “a black woman who pretended to be a mourner”, who took words from Manigault Newman’s eulogy, turned them into an article and billed it as an “exclusive interview”.
She hired lawyers and planned to sue, but then got a call from Trump. According to her book, he told her: “Omarosa, you’ve got to drop this lawsuit against the Enquirer. David Pecker is my close friend. I’ve spoken with him, and he’s willing to work with you. What do you want?”
Trump negotiated a deal that included a settlement and job for Manigault Newman as west coast editor of American Media, Inc. Having studied journalism at university, she was attracted by the promise of travel, an office and a staff of photographers and reporters – and by doing her old mentor a favor. But she expresses regret.
And when she left the White House, Manigault Newman says, she made a different choice. Trump’s daughter-in-law, Lara Trump, offered her $15,000 a month to work on his 2020 re-election campaign, but with a contract forbidding her to ever talk about the Trump family. “I declined the offer. I was done with Trumpworld.”