Mark your calendars for January 21st, for it might very well be America Is Lit Day. “There were a lot of things that I observed during the last year,” Omarosa Manigault Newman tells ABC’s Michael Strahan on Good Morning America, “that I was very unhappy with, that I was very uncomfortable with.” She won’t go into detail until after her official departure date on January 20th, the departing aide to Donald Trump tells Strahan, but when she has the chance to discuss her perspective as the “only African-American woman” in the White House, she will.
Manigault Newman does tell Strahan one thing about the White House — she wasn’t fired from it, nor was she physically removed from it. In fact, she’s still working there until that January 20th exit date, she says:
.@omarosa on Pres. Trump: “I had more access than most and people had problems with that, people had problems with my 14 year relationship with this president. I’ve always been loyal to him." pic.twitter.com/lZF7TTuXzd
— Good Morning America (@GMA) December 14, 2017
The Secret Service confirmed her story, at least in terms of a supposed physical removal. Last night, they issued a statement that said their only involvement in the “termination” was to deactivate her pass:
The Secret Service was not involved in the termination process of Ms Manigault Newman or the escort off of the complex. Our only involvement in this matter was to deactivate the individual's pass which grants access to the complex.
— U.S. Secret Service (@SecretService) December 13, 2017
Strahan asks how she can return to work without the pass. Manigault Newman claims that only one of three passes got deactivated, and appropriately so for an employee on a departure track. She still has access to her work area, and will continue to have that access for another month until she gets to the one-year date. ABC notes in its accompanying article that the White House confirmed that she will “stay on until Jan. 2o.”
That certainly sounds like a reasonable explanation, reasonably told. Is that true? We’ll see, although if she was fired and out already, why would Manigault Newman hold back the opinions she says she wants to express? At one point, she becomes defensive when Strahan insinuates that Trump hasn’t succeeded in “bringing people together,” a goal which Manigault Newman correctly points out is proclaimed by every administration. She bristles at the question, noting that it took eight years for Bill Clinton to claim success in that arena, and reminds Strahan that it’s “only been eleven months” for her and Trump.
If Manigault Newman had been fired immediately and escorted off the grounds, she wouldn’t be holding back now. Clearly, she has something to say:
There “were a lot of things that I observed during the last year that I was very unhappy with,” she said.
“But when I have my story to tell as the only African-American woman in this White House, as a senior staff and assistant to the president, I have seen things that have made me uncomfortable, that have upset me, that have affected me deeply and emotionally, that has affected my community and my people and when I can tell my story, it is a profound story that I know the world will want to hear,” Manigault added.
For now, though, Manigault Newman is at least comfortable in telling CNN to clean up its act. The stories about her resignation or termination came from one person with a grudge against her, she claims, and is already contradicted by the evidence. “I believe that CNN should correct their reporting,” she tells Strahan. Maybe, but ABC would also have to correct theirs:
White House sources have told ABC News she was fired and escorted off the White House grounds.
Just what does Manigault Newman have on the Trump White House? I’d bet they’ll consider the wisdom of LBJ about tents and the direction of urination when she starts telling her stories. Perhaps it will be yet another reminder that this has been a reality-TV administration since its launch, with John Kelly’s arrival a kind of inflection point for a more serious approach. In that sense, it won’t tell us anything we don’t already know.