Omarosa Manigault made an appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press Sunday and shared an audio recording of what she says was her conversation with Chief of Staff John Kelly in which he fired her. Manigault first came to know Donald Trump as a contestant on his reality show, The Apprentice. She was a vocal supporter of Trump when he announced his candidacy for president and served as Director of African-American Outreach for Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. That position was followed by a role on his transition team and then followed by 11 months working as Assistant to the President and Director of Communications for the Office of Public Liaison. Her departure in December 2017 was described by many media outlets as very emotional with charges that she tried to enter the White House residence to speak directly with President Trump and had to be dragged off the property – charges she denies.
Speaking to Chuck Todd, Omarosa shared the secret recording of her conversation with John Kelly in which he says something she described as a threat.
“I think it’s important to understand that if we make this a friendly departure we can all be, you know, you can look at your time here in the White House as a year of service to the nation. And then you can go on without any type of difficulty in the future relative to your reputation.”
Further into the recording, Omarosa says Kelly added that “things can get ugly for you,” which she took as him bullying her into going quietly. In another portion of the tape that was played on Meet the Press, Omarosa asks Kelly if the president is aware that she is being fired, to which he replies that their conversation is “non-negotiable.” She responds, “I don’t want to negotiate. I just, I’ve never talked, had a chance to talk to you General Kelly so if this is my departure, I’d like to have at least an opportunity to understand.” He responded saying that the staff reports to him, not to the president and refused to discuss Trump.
Omarosa described being taken, not into Chief of Staff Kelly’s office but into the Situation Room where the doors were locked behind her before she’s told she can’t leave before their conversation began. Meet the Press host Chuck Todd pushed her about recording their discussion and asked whether she was “prepared at a moment’s notice to record him? Or were you planning to record him the minute you found out you had this meeting?” This was her response.
“First of all, like I said, I’m the only African-American there. When you walk into a meeting with John Kelly, who has refused to meet with me the whole time he’s there, in the Situation Room, Chuck. We’re not going in there to talk about, you know, parking or scheduling issues, you’re going in there to talk about something very serious.”
She added that Kelly had been open about looking for a reason to fire her. She also said that she was told repeatedly once she was in the Situation Room that she couldn’t leave the room, speak to a lawyer, or speak to her husband who was waiting just outside the room. Omarosa said she recorded him because “this is a White House where everybody lies,” specifically mentioning President Trump and Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee-Sanders. She described it as a White House where “you have to have your own back because otherwise you’ll look back and you’ll see 17 knives in your back.”
You can view the interview in its entirety below.