Omarose Onee Manigault-Newman[a] (born February 5, 1974), often referred to mononymously as Omarosa, is an American reality television show participant and former political aide who is best known for her appearances as a contestant on The Apprentice and its sister programs The Celebrity Apprentice and All-Star Celebrity Apprentice as well as for serving as the Director of Communications for the Office of Public Liaison in the White House during the Trump administration.
Reality television career
First and seventh seasons of The Apprentice and The Ultimate Merger
Manigault first came to public attention in 2004 after becoming a participant on the first season of NBC‘s reality television series, The Apprentice, starring business mogul Donald Trump. Stemming from her controversial, blindsiding, alienating, dog-eat-dog, in-your-face and acrimonious tactics of game play on The Apprentice (particularly in its boardroom segments), she soon became the “woman America loved to hate” and was named by E!as reality TV’s number one bad girl. Manigault has disagreed with the “villain” label, rather believing herself to be “a shrewd businesswoman,” asserting that when a male takes on such characteristics, it is always seen as strong, but when a woman takes them on, it is seen negatively. Manigault has also claimed the show’s producers have manipulated footage of her to make her look like the villain.
In January 2008, Manigault was invited to the first season of The Apprentice‘s sequel show, Celebrity Apprentice; she became the only former Apprentice participant to be invited back to the series. On Celebrity Apprentice, she quickly became embroiled in a personal feud with Piers Morgan. She was eventually fired in the 10th episode, after serving as the project manager of the team that, according to Trump, suffered “the biggest slaughter in the history of The Apprentice” in a challenge to sell artwork against a team led by Morgan. She raised $49,000 in total for her charity.
Thirteenth season of The Apprentice
Trump presidential campaign and administration
During the Republican National Convention in July 2016, Manigault announced that she had been named Director of African-American Outreach for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. In September 2016, she said in an interview with Frontline: “Every critic, every detractor, will have to bow down to President Trump. It’s everyone who’s ever doubted Donald, who ever disagreed, who ever challenged him. It is the ultimate revenge to become the most powerful man in the universe.” Shortly after Donald Trump won the election, Manigault stated that Donald Trump has an “enemies” list of Republicans who voted against him in the presidential election.
In December 2016, Manigault was announced as one of the nine members to President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team. In December 2016, Manigault accompanied former NFL stars Ray Lewis and Jim Brown to meet with President-elect Trump at Trump Tower.
On January 3, 2017, it was reported that Manigault would join Trump’s White House staff, focusing on public engagement. Her specific title was made public the next day as Assistant to the President and Director of Communications for the Office of Public Liaison. In her first interview after being named to the Trump White House, she told Megyn Kelly that she was a “Trumplican” and had switched her political affiliation to the Republican Party. She hopes more African Americans will follow her lead and do the same, given how she believes Democrats take African American voters for granted, making empty promises to them.
In June 2017 Manigault invited the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) to visit the White House, signing the invitation as “the Honorable Omarosa Manigault”. Some members of the CBC took exception to her use of the title, which is neither customary for political aides nor typically self-applied. The CBC ultimately declined the invitation. In August 2017, Manigault was on a panel about losing loved ones to violence at National Association of Black Journalists convention in New Orleans. She got into a shouting match with moderator and fellow panelist Ed Gordon because his questions to her focused on Trump’s policies and not her personal history with losing family members to violence.
On December 13, 2017 the resignation of Manigault-Newman was announced by the White House, effective January 20, 2018. The United States Secret Service did not deny reports that Manigault-Newman had been forcibly removed from the White House grounds on December 12, but stated the agency was not involved in the termination process or escorting/removing Manigault-Newman from the complex. The Secret Service’s only involvement in the matter was to deactivate Manigault-Newman’s access pass. CNN White House correspondent April Ryan reported that White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly fired Manigault-Newman, but Manigault-Newman disputed the account, stating that she resigned.
In February 2018, Manigault-Newman publicly criticized the Trump administration and stated that she would not vote for Trump again.