White House paranoia deepens after Omarosa tapes

Deanna Kelley
August 14, 2018

President Trump on Tuesday continued to lash out at Omarosa Manigault Newman over explosive claims his former "Celebrity Apprentice" co-star turned White House aide makes about him in her new book, "Unhinged".

The White House and Trump have pounced on the discrepancy and her reputation as someone who seeks the spotlight in a bid to discredit her. Hogan Gidley, deputy press secretary, said media outlets never took her seriously until she released the tapes.

The former White House staff member went on to say: "As a student of fashion and keenly image-conscious woman, she knows that every one of her style choices will be scrutinized and debated".

Omarosa Manigault-Newman claims Melania is waiting for husband Donald to finish his first term as US President before leaving him.

Trump said Monday he spoke to "Apprentice" producer Mark Burnett and said no tapes exist of his using "that word".

A person Manigault Newman says is Patton then describes having a conversation with Trump about the alleged tape: "I said, 'Well, sir, can you think of anytime this might have happened?' and he said, 'No'".

Beyond their war of words, the row touched on several sensitive issues in Trump's White House, including a lack of racial diversity among senior officials, security in the executive mansion, a culture that some there feel borders on paranoia and the extraordinary measures used to keep ex-employees quiet. "He's being puppeted", she said. "She begged me for a job, tears in her eyes, I said Ok". The former reality star also said even if the president had used the slur, it wouldn't impact his base.

Meanwhile, Trump spent Monday railing against Omarosa via his favorite communication platform, Twitter, leading to even more amusement and bemusement from the late-night comedians. This is his pattern with African Americans.

"What's weird about this is that Omarosa is presenting these tapes as evidence she was treated unfairly", Noah said, referencing her claims that her conversation with Kelly constituted a threat.

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Why did she wear a Gucci "pussy bow" pink blouse to the presidential debate immediately after the Access Hollywood bombshell? "Omarosa had Zero credibility with the Media (they didn't want interviews) when she worked in the White House".

But while Trump's move from Democratic donor and NY libertine to über-conservative GOP cult leader took years to execute, Manigault Newman's evolution feels like it's happening in real time.

Trump officials and a number of outside critics denounced the recordings as a serious breach of ethics and security - and White House aides anxious about what else Manigault Newman may have captured in the West Wing. So much for his campaign promise to hire "the best people". "I wonder if she is recording some of the things that we've talked about as well", he told Fox News' "Fox & Friends".

The appearance came after she released another secret tape Sunday on NBC, recorded in the ultra-secure White House Situation Room - an area so sensitive that cellphones and other devices are banned.

It was not clear exactly what he was referring to.

Manigault Newman writes in her book that others heard the tape, including veteran pollster Frank Luntz.

"Omarosa", Noah replied. "How can you say that about the president three years after we all said that about the president?!"

The latest recording appears to show a President who has little knowledge of what is happening inside his own White House - or who is willing to lie to avoid confrontation.

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