Donald Trump launched an unprompted attack against former White House aide Omarosa Manigault-Newman on Saturday, saying she was “despised by everyone” and saying that he is suing her for violating a “confidentiality agreement.”
The problem, experts agree, is that any confidentiality agreement placed on an employee would be a violation of the U.S. Constitution.
In a series of tweets squeezed in between warnings of the approaching Hurricane Dorian, Trump said that he had forgiven ousted personal assistant Madeleine Westerhout, who had reportedly spilled personal details about Trump’s family in a meeting with reporters, before calling the president to apologize. In his message, Trump pointed out that he had placed a “fully enforceable confidentiality agreement” on the employee, and noted that he is suing others for violating their confidentiality agreements.
That includes Manigault-Newman, the former star of The Apprentice, who Trump picked to serve in his administration before she left and shared embarrassing details about his White House operations.
“Yes, I am currently suing various people for violating their confidentiality agreements. Disgusting and foul mouthed Omarosa is one,” Trump tweeted. “I gave her every break, despite the fact that she was despised by everyone, and she went for some cheap money from a book. Numerous others also!”
Donald Trump was long known for placing non-disclosure agreements on his company’s employees, careful not to let embarrassing details about him spill out. That extended to his private life as well, with Trump reportedly paying off adult film star Stormy Daniels after her claim that they had a brief affair just a few months after the birth of his youngest son.
While this may have been a common practice in his business and private lives, experts say the concept doesn’t work for the White House. After The Washington Post first revealed that Trump had placed non-disclosure agreements on his White House employees and it was later confirmed by top adviser Kellyanne Conway, experts said that these would not be enforceable.
Some legal experts went further, saying they would actually be unconstitutional. Mark Zaid, a Washington-based attorney who focuses on government and national security, told the Weekly Standard that a version of the White House non-disclosure agreement he had seen appeared to be between the employee and the U.S. government, a significant change from anything previous administrations have done. He wrote on Twitter that it would be unconstitutional.
“Zaid, who works frequently on cases involving national security, free speech, and non-disclosure agreements, said that the potential use of an NDA for unclassified information would represent a remarkable split from previous administrations,” the Washington Examiner noted.
Trump filed an arbitration claim against Omarosa Manigault over a year ago. https://t.co/byJZFpjfTu The claim seems to have gone entirely dormant since then— David Frum (@davidfrum) August 31, 2019
Others reported that the legal claim Trump filed against Manigault-Newman appears to have gone dormant in the past year, with no action being taken to follow through.