Former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman on Monday morning came more than prepared to make headlines during an appearance on ABC’s “The View.”
“I suspect it is Pence’s chief of staff,” she said, fingering Vice President Pence’s top staffer, Nick Ayers, as the anonymous author of the now-infamous op-ed in the New York Times that portrayed President Trump as incompetent and dangerous, something she had previously suggested.
A follow-up: Pence, she says, is already lining up donors and building a team to run for president. Pence has denied that he or anyone who works for him was behind the op-ed. “I’m 100 percent confident that no one on the vice president’s staff was involved in this anonymous editorial,” the vice president said during a Sunday interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “I know my people.”
Omarosa, though, was just warming up. She then discussed how she and other top staffers sort-of joked about Trump being removed from office, backing up a claim by the anonymous op-ed author.
Omarosa said she and other White House staffers “coped” with their boss’s bad behavior by sending each other messages with orange emoji or the hashtag #TFA, an acronym for the 25th Amendment to the Constitution, which deals with presidential incapacity and succession. She said she now regrets not sounding a warning earlier.
“I was too close to realize how damaging it was,” she said. “Instead of hashtagging, we should have been calling our congresspeople . . . calling the Justice Department . . . putting America on alert.”
Omarosa described how her look inside the workings of the White House, which she documented in her tell-all book “Unhinged,” caused her to turn against her onetime friend. “If you discover a friend is an arsonist, you’re not going to hand them gasoline,” she said. “I discovered Donald Trump was an arsonist trying to burn this country down.”
And that was all before she got around to airing a secret tape she recorded of President Trump, which “The View” had been hyping ahead of the sit-down. The audio recording turned out to be slightly less of the promised bombshell: It was Trump rambling about (guess who?) former rival Hillary Clinton during a meeting of White House staffers. Omarosa played an audiotape she said came from a meeting in October of the communications and press team, which had been about tax reform — at least until Trump crashed it. (When Trump “got bored,” she said, he would walk around the White House and sit in on meetings.)
In the tape, Trump can be heard discussing Clinton and then-new reports that his rival’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee had helped pay for opposition research by a former British spy. “I think Hillary’s getting killed on Russia stories,” he began, before launching into a convoluted discussion of how much he thought Clinton had paid, claiming Clinton had used a law firm as an intermediary.
And he concludes with a hopeful analysis. “So the Russia thing seems to have turned around, don’t you think?”
Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders can then be heard agreeing with him.
“This was a meeting with the entire communications staff and the press shop, meeting to talk about tax reform,” said Omarosa, who has been doling out snippets of countless hours of tapes she secretly recorded during her White House tenure. “He crashed the meeting, he came into the meeting, he sat down and he starts rambling from topic to topic. None of it makes sense.”
Omarosa’s day of dragging her former boss wasn’t over, though — she appeared later on MSNBC, where she unveiled another snippet of audio from the same meeting. In this recording, Trump can be heard discussing (again, in what sounds like a rambling aside) the attack in Niger earlier that month in which four U.S. troops were killed. “I don’t think I’d want to be a terrorist now,” Trump concluded, as his aides laughed. “It’s not a good life.”
Omarosa said it was inappropriate for the president to turn a discussion of a deadly attack on service members into a punchline, noting that Trump’s condolence call to the widow of one of the troops killed in Niger later turned controversial after the widow said the president was insensitive and didn’t recall her husband’s name. “He’s making light of the situation,” Omarosa said. “It’s not a laughing matter.”