- Carlo Allegri/Reuters
- Former communications director for the White House’s Office of Public Liaison Omarosa Manigault Newman said that her position was “very challenging” because of the White House’s “lack of diversity.”
- Newman contends that she resigned from her position and was not fired.
Following her abrupt departure from the White House, Omarosa Manigault Newman said that the White House’s “lack of diversity” made her feel “very lonely.”
“It has been very, very challenging being the only African-American woman in the senior staff,” Newman said to ABC News’ “Nightline” on Thursday.
Newman also noted that working with staffers in the Trump administration, most of whom are white, was “very lonely,” and that many “had never worked with minorities” and “didn’t know how to interact with them.”
“There was a lack of diversity that I will acknowledge,” Newman said to ABC News. “I regret that we haven’t reached the level of diversity in this administration that I strove to see.”
Following her remarks, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said that the White House had “a really diverse team across the board” and would “continue to grow the diversity.”
Multiple news-media reports alleged that Newman had heen troubled by the administration’s response to the deadly and racially-charged protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August. Trump’s personal reaction to the ordeal was roundly criticized after he implied that both white supremacist groups and demonstrators who protested against them were at fault.
But Newman appeared to support Trump and denied he was a racist: “Yes, I will acknowledge many of the exchanges, particularly in the last six months, have been racially charged,” Newman reportedly said. “Do we then just stop and label him as a racist? No.”
Newman was reportedly let go by White House chief of staff John Kelly, who is rumored to be the unwelcomed gatekeeper when it comes access to Trump, according to multiple reports. Newman, who had enjoyed access to Trump since her time as a contestant on Trump’s reality-TV show, “The Apprentice,” reportedly engaged in a verbal altercation with Kelly after her dismissal, and claimed that “she had brought the black vote to President Trump,” according to White House correspondent April Ryan.
But Newman contested reports of her firing and claimed that she had left the White House voluntarily: “John Kelly and I had a very straightforward discussion about concerns that I had, issues that I raised, and as a result I resigned,” Newman said during an interview on ABC’s “Good Morning America” Thursday.
“But when I have a chance to tell my story, Michael – quite a 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,” Newman continued. “And when I can tell my story, it is a profound story that I know the world will want to hear.”
Newman’s undefined role in the White House has been questioned in recent weeks, and Kelly, who began trimming the White House’s staff since taking on his role, has been reportedly scrutinizing Newman’s contact with Trump.