Former White House adviser Omarosa Manigault Newman refuted President Donald Trump’s claim Monday that she signed a nondisclosure agreement, saying she never agreed to keep quiet about her work as a senior administration official.
Trump tweeted Monday that Manigault Newman, who is promoting her new book “Unhinged: An Insider Account of the Trump White House,” which is highly critical of the president, signed a nondisclosure agreement though he didn’t specify when.
Manigault Newman said Monday she signed a nondisclosure agreement, known as an NDA during her time starring alongside Trump on the reality television show “The Apprentice” in 2003, and again when she worked for Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. But Manigault Newman, who was fired from the White House last year, said she did not agree to sign a nondisclosure agreement after Trump took office.
“I never signed that draconian NDA that they presented to me when I walked into the White House,” Newman told the PBS NewsHour anchor and managing editor Judy Woodruff.
The White House reportedly asked employees to sign nondisclosure agreements once Trump took office, in a break from past administrations. The agreements are common in some industries but not in the federal government.
In promoting her book, Manigault Newman has also grabbed headlines by sharing two recordings she secretly made in the White House, including one of her firing by White House Chief of Staff John Kelly in December. On Monday, she said she would release more tapes soon.
“I have a significant amount, in fact a treasure trove of multimedia backup for everything,” Newman said.
Manigault Newman has faced criticism for recording conversations in the White House; the one with Kelly where she was fired took place in the Situation Room, where taping events is prohibited. She also drew criticism during her time at the White House.
Trump on Monday called Manigault Newman “wacky” and a “lowlife” on Twitter. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders also criticized Manigault Newman’s portrayal of the Trump White House.
But Manigault Newman has defended the recordings, and said Monday the contents of the tapes could include evidence of corruption she alleges she saw inside the Trump administration. When asked to share a specific example of corruption, Newman instead said she would “reserve that for the authorities.”
“I prefer to do that not in the court of public opinion, but in the court of law, because it is very serious,” she added.
Other highlights from the interview:
Manigault Newman said Trump’s response to the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, last year was politically motivated. Newman said Trump’s controversial comments after Charlottesville blaming the violence on “both sides” made her want to leave the administration. She also suggested the White House’s response was politically motivated.
“In some ways this administration refused to act because there was a Democratic governor,” Newman said, referring to then-Gov. Terry McAuliffe. Manigault Newman claimed Trump said “‘Just let them deal with it. They’ll get the situation under control.'”
Newman said she publicly defended Trump the day after the Charlottesville protests because the president asked her to. ”There weren’t many people from the administration that would” defend Trump at the time, she said.
“I was going down the wrong path.” The former reality television star worked alongside Trump for 15 years inside and outside the White House. At the White House, she served in a high-profile role as the liaison to the African American community.
Newman said she developed a “blind spot” for the president that she wasn’t able to recognize until she left the White House, adding that Trump was a leader with a “cult” of followers.
“I was going down the wrong path following Donald Trump,” Newman said. “I had no idea that supporting Donald Trump in the way that I was was causing so much damage until I was on the outside.”