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Fired or resigned?

Omarosa out at White House

12/29/2017, 12:20 p.m.
Omarosa Manigault Newman, who has resigned under duress from her public liaison job at the White House, is leaving true ...
Stories swirl about Omarosa Manigault Newman’s departure from the Trump White House, where she was assistant to the president and director of communications in the White House Office of Public Liaison. Cheriss May

Ms. Connors said the clearest evidence that Ms. Manigault Newman was not going to work with other black Republicans came in February, when Ms. Manigault Newman was in charge of pulling together the Black History Month program for President Trump.

“Credible Republicans such as Kay Coles James and J.C. Watts and Elroy Sailor tried to engage Omarosa,” she said. Instead, Ms. Manigault Newman put an event together that included her personal picks of African-Americans, including black Democrats, Ms. Connors said.

“She didn’t invite any of the prominent black Republicans. In fact, we had folks calling us from the White House saying, ‘Why aren’t your names on the list for this event?’ It was very evident from the beginning that she wasn’t going to work with us and that she was just going to do her own thing.”

Ms. Connors said the turning point came when a similar situation occurred with an event for Vice President Mike Pence was planned by black Republicans to be held at West Point. “That was another example of Omarosa using her position in the White House to block that event as well,” she said.

Sources willing to speak on the record in defense of Ms. Manigault Newman were difficult to find. High placed Republican sources said it is not possible for her to have made such decisions without oversight from the White House and most likely from President Trump himself.

Other Republican sources said Mrs. James was offered positions within the administration, but Ms. Manigault Newman fought against any African-American staff appointment that would be above her own.

Others said black Republicans seeking employment in the new administration may be been rejected because they had left the RNC in protest of their treatment by then RNC Chairman Reince Priebus. When Mr. Priebus became President Trump’s first chief of staff, they said, Mr. Priebus may have been averse to their hiring, one source said.

“At the end of the day … Omarosa is not a conservative. She is not a Republican. She is simply an opportunist,” said Christopher Metzler, a member of the Black GOP Coalition who has long worked in Republican policy and strategy.

Black Republicans aren’t the only ones claiming to be blocked by Ms. Manigault Newman.

American Urban Radio Network reporter April Ryan, a White House correspondent who has covered four presidents, confirmed that Sean Spicer, President Trump’s former press secretary, told her that Ms. Manigault Newman had asked him to “stop calling on me” during press briefings.

Had Mr. Spicer adhered to that request, it could have blocked important information and coverage on behalf of millions of African-American listeners of AURN radio stations across the nation.

Ms. Ryan also said Ms. Manigault Newman tried to get her fired by calling her boss at AURN.

In an off-the-record meeting with several hundred black leaders last January during the transition, including Ben Chavis, president and CEO of the National Newspaper Publishers Association, Ms. Manigault Newman said NNPA would get the first interview with President Trump.

She later denied that promise despite multiple sources confirming the conversation.

Mr. Chavis said Ms. Manigault Newman indicated the NNPA interview was still possible when he interviewed her in September at her office in the Old Executive Office Building. He also said she never gave any indication at that time that she would be leaving the administration.

He said NNPA will continue to push for the interview with President Trump.

Mr. Chavis speculated that, based on his September interview — which he said has not been published — Ms. Manigault Newman may have been let go for pressing for diversity.

“She indicated broadly her determination to press diversity and inclusivity issues. She has always maintained that posture,” Mr. Chavis said. “I think that’s probably one of the things that probably got her in trouble in the White House.”

But Ms. Connors said the story Ms. Manigault Newman is telling is different from those told by sources.

“Based on her patterns of erratic and disruptive behavior, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if she was confrontational with Gen. Kelly and things were played out the way they were reported to have played out — outside of her story.”