Omarosa releases recording of call with Trump

Omarosa Manigault Newman, former aide to President Donald Trump, provided NBC with what she claims is a recording of a conversation with President Donald Trump that took place after White House chief of staff John Kelly fired her.

Posted: Aug 15, 2018 9:47 AM
Updated: Aug 15, 2018 10:01 AM

Omarosa Manigault Newman isn't easy to root for. Or even believe.

She has a long history of seeking out drama and conflict to benefit herself. She is the archetype of the reality TV world -- someone who always knows where the camera is and always wants it on her. She has a history of not telling the whole truth or shaping that "truth" to fit her purposes. She doesn't burn bridges, she napalms them.

Which brings me to the last 24 hours, in which Omarosa has made a series of TV appearances to promote her new book about her time -- roughly a year -- in the Trump White House. She's made a huge number of claims, including that she was offered money to work on the campaign and stay silent after leaving the White House, and raised the idea that chief of staff John Kelly is actually running the show. She's also played two recordings that she secretly made -- a stunning move, by the way: one in which Kelly is heard firing her and the other in which Trump calls her to express shock and unhappiness that she has been dismissed from the White House.

Trump, of course, has responded to Omarosa's claims. He tweeted Monday morning:

"Wacky Omarosa, who got fired 3 times on the Apprentice, now got fired for the last time. She never made it, never will. She begged me for a job, tears in her eyes, I said Ok. People in the White House hated her. She was vicious, but not smart. I would rarely see her but heard really bad things. Nasty to people & would constantly miss meetings & work. When Gen. Kelly came on board he told me she was a loser & nothing but problems. I told him to try working it out, if possible, because she only said GREAT things about me - until she got fired!"

Added Trump in a third tweet about the situation: "While I know it's 'not presidential' to take on a lowlife like Omarosa, and while I would rather not be doing so, this is a modern day form of communication and I know the Fake News Media will be working overtime to make even Wacky Omarosa look legitimate as possible. Sorry!"

The most important line in that trio of tweets is this one: "I know the Fake News Media will be working overtime to make even Wacky Omarosa look legitimate as possible."

Ignore Trump's ridiculous attempt to besmirch the media -- tell-all books from former presidential advisers get coverage no matter who the president is -- and you get to the heart of the matter: Trump is trying to do what he can to ensure that anything and everything that Omarosa says on TV or writes in her book is dismissed out of hand. She's "vicious, but not smart." He rarely saw her. She was a "loser" and "nothing but problems." Therefore, everything she says is a lie. She's just trying to get attention!

Which, honestly, isn't all false.

BUT. BUT. BUT.

First, remember that Trump hired Omarosa -- or, in the case of "The Apprentice" and "The Celebrity Apprentice", cast her -- on three occasions. Fool me once, maybe. Fool me three times? No way. The fact that Trump was willing to create a position -- director of communications for the White House Public Liaison Office -- even after two past experiences with her (she was TV-fired twice by Trump) speaks to the fact that he found something redeeming about her. As recently as the fall of 2016, Trump was praising Omarosa: "She is such a fine person, and nobody knows it."

What changed between September 2016 and now -- other than the fact that Omarosa has written a book that is deeply critical of Trump? Say what you will about Omarosa, but she's not someone who changes her stripes based on her circumstances. Who she was on reality TV is almost certainly the same person she was in the White House. (You could say that about another reality TV star-turned-politico too.) Trump knew exactly who Omarosa was when he brought her into the White House. That fact runs directly counter to Trump's current position that everything Omarosa says about him and his administration has to be dismissed because she is a "loser." If she was such a loser, why was she hired three times by Donald Trump?

Second, Omarosa allegedly has many more secretly recorded conversations from her time in the White House. This, from The Washington Post's Josh Dawsey, hints at that: "Manigault Newman does not offer evidence for some of her most explosive charges but extensively recorded her conversations in the White House. The Post has listened to several of the recordings made by Manigault Newman, which match quotations recounted in the book excerpts."

There's a big difference between unsubstantiated allegations by a disgruntled former employee -- as White House press secretary Sarah Sanders has characterized Omarosa -- and audio of conversations that provide clear evidence of claims. Now, the two audio tapes released by Omarosa so far aren't exactly political bombshells. Kelly told her she was in trouble and needed to leave the White House quietly. Trump called to express surprise, whether real or feigned remains to be seen, that she had been fired. There's nothing particularly explosive there.

The issue is a) how many more conversations Omarosa taped b) what are on the tapes and c) can they be independently verified either by the participants or by some neutral third party? If those three criteria can be met, then Omarosa's credibility -- which isn't much -- doesn't really matter. The people in the tapes either said what they are recorded as saying or they didn't.

Should Omarosa have secretly taped conversations in the Situation Room -- among other places? No. Should Trump have hired someone who he would have at least some reason to suspect might be entirely out for herself and do something like secretly record conversations? Also no. Omarosa isn't anyone's ideal staffer in any organization -- much less the White House. But she was there because of the President's willingness to, at a minimum, tolerate her.

Now all that matters is what's on the tapes -- and what they prove (or don't).

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 161516

Reported Deaths: 3916
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto10708104
Hinds10519205
Harrison7555113
Jackson6708128
Rankin6130112
Lee547697
Madison5202110
Forrest400187
Jones382189
Lauderdale3727147
Lafayette344057
Washington3367108
Lamar307550
Lowndes261167
Oktibbeha259962
Bolivar250185
Panola240253
Neshoba2311122
Marshall227151
Leflore213991
Monroe212278
Pontotoc211231
Lincoln200867
Sunflower195555
Warren184958
Tate184051
Union176826
Copiah172540
Pike168360
Pearl River163870
Yazoo162940
Scott162730
Itawamba162637
Alcorn160428
Coahoma157844
Prentiss156732
Simpson155153
Adams148352
Grenada147145
Leake143344
Holmes135761
Covington135541
Tippah132530
George131725
Winston131726
Hancock130942
Wayne124924
Attala124735
Marion124248
Tishomingo114844
Chickasaw112132
Newton112129
Tallahatchie100727
Clay97127
Clarke95653
Jasper88523
Stone83115
Calhoun81513
Walthall79930
Montgomery78826
Carroll76315
Smith75716
Lawrence75214
Yalobusha74428
Noxubee74217
Perry69326
Tunica63519
Greene63022
Jefferson Davis60217
Amite59315
Claiborne59316
Humphreys55719
Quitman5117
Benton50518
Kemper49318
Webster47914
Wilkinson41322
Jefferson38712
Franklin3726
Choctaw3697
Sharkey33117
Issaquena1234
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 260359

Reported Deaths: 3776
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson34716513
Mobile20452370
Madison14215153
Tuscaloosa13755173
Montgomery12731243
Shelby1110278
Baldwin9341137
Lee801566
Morgan722855
Etowah692170
Calhoun6809121
Marshall675058
Houston552739
DeKalb512940
Cullman480246
St. Clair460357
Limestone455046
Lauderdale443357
Elmore432567
Walker3861112
Talladega381157
Jackson361623
Colbert341546
Blount315845
Autauga289342
Franklin262634
Coffee257717
Dale244454
Dallas234932
Chilton233641
Covington232434
Russell23153
Escambia206932
Tallapoosa190291
Chambers187551
Clarke164120
Pike163814
Marion148236
Winston144725
Lawrence137336
Pickens129720
Geneva12818
Marengo126724
Bibb125238
Barbour121429
Butler120042
Randolph107022
Cherokee106724
Hale101432
Fayette99916
Clay94825
Washington93921
Henry8996
Monroe84611
Lowndes82629
Cleburne80714
Macon77122
Crenshaw73330
Conecuh72914
Lamar7258
Bullock70919
Perry6987
Wilcox65518
Sumter59522
Greene44518
Choctaw43519
Coosa3824
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