- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 14, 2017

Ousted White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman said Thursday that she felt “lonely” as President Trump’s only black adviser in the West Wing, and said many of her white colleagues “didn’t know how to interact” with minorities.

“It has been very, very challenging being the only African-American woman in the senior staff,” Mrs. Managault Newman said on ABC News’ “Nightline,” which aired early Friday. “I regret that we haven’t reached the level of diversity in this administration that I strove to see.”

She said many of her co-workers at the White House “had never worked with minorities, didn’t know how to interact with them.”

The White House said it is always seeking ways to increase its diversity.

“We have a really diverse team across the board at the White House,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said. “We always want to continue to grow the diversity here. We’re going to continue to do that and continue to work hard. Something that we strive for every day is to add and grow to be more diverse and more representative of the country at large.”

Speaking after her resignation under pressure from White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, Mrs. Manigault Newman defended the president for getting embroiled in “racially charged” situations such as a violent white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and protests by black NFL players during the national anthem.

She said the episodes bothered her, but said she also knows Mr. Trump isn’t racist.

“Yes, I will acknowledge many of the exchanges, particularly in the last six months, have been racially charged,” she told ABC. “Do we then just stop and label him as a racist? No. He is not a racist. “

The White House said Mrs. Manigault Newman didn’t raise concerns on the job about the administration’s treatment of blacks, despite her claim earlier Thursday that she experienced conditions upsetting for minorities while working in the West Wing.

“The comments that she made, that was the first time I’d heard those,” said Mrs. Sanders, who added that Mrs. Manigault Newman had ample opportunities to air concerns in meetings but did not.

In an earlier appearance on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Mrs. Manigault Newman said after her stormy forced resignation this week that she has a “profound story to tell.”

“As the only African American woman in this White House, as a senior staff and assistant to the president, I have seen things that have made me uncomfortable, that have upset me and affected me deeply and emotionally, that has affected my community and my people,” she said on ABC’s “Good Morning America.” “There were a lot of things that I observed.”

Asked to elaborate, Mrs. Manigault Newman said she had to “be careful” because she is technically still employed by the White House. She will receive her top White House salary of $179,900 through Jan. 20, the effective date of her resignation.

The president, who made Mrs. Manigault Newman famous as a villainous contestant on “The Apprentice” in 2004, has tried to remain above the fray after her confrontational meeting Tuesday night with Mr. Kelly.

“I like Omarosa,” Mr. Trump told reporters Thursday. “Omarosa’s a good person.”

Mrs. Manigault Newman was back on the White House grounds late Thursday, two days after the Secret Service deactivated her security pass and she was escorted off the property. It wasn’t clear why she returned, although she left Tuesday under abrupt circumstances.

Mr. Kelly, who like predecessor Reince Priebus had been dissatisfied with Mrs. Managault Newman, reportedly confronted her in a meeting late Tuesday. In the television interview Thursday, she denied reports that she had shouted obscenities during the meeting, or that she claimed she helped Mr. Trump get elected as a liaison to black voters.

John Kelly and I had a very straightforward discussion about concerns that I had, issues that I raised and, as a result, I resigned and it will be taking place 20 January, when I leave this very interesting administration,” Mrs. Manigault-Newman said.

She denied reports that she tried to enter the White House residence to plead her case with Mr. Trump, calling the story “ridiculous” and “absurd.”

As a friend of Mr. Trump whose access to him had been more limited since Mr. Kelly came aboard in July, Mrs. Managault Newman acknowledged there were tensions between her and the chief of staff, a former four-star Marine general.

“As an assistant to the president, we all report to the chief of staff,” she said. “When he came in, it was during a lot of turmoil. I’m the only African American woman who sits at the table with 30 assistants — we had to adjust to his militaristic style.”

She said the president “was sad to learn about my departure. I regret that he found out about it on the television.”

With the tense departure of the only black staffer to receive the top White House salary, reporters pressed Mrs. Sanders Thursday about a lack of diversity in the West Wing.

Mrs. Sanders said the administration’s outreach to black Americans “wasn’t something that was a singular effort by any one individual.”

“A member of the Cabinet, [Housing and Urban Development Secretary] Ben Carson, I know has been engaged and talked with the president on this issue,” Mrs. Sanders said. “But it’s not just within the White House. The president met with Sen. Tim Scott [South Carolina Republican]. I know he wants to continue those conversations as well, to look at the best ways to do outreach to that community.”

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