Omarosa Manigault Newman

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Omarosa Manigault Newman
Omarosa Manigault by Gage Skidmore.jpg
Director of Communications for the Office of Public Liaison
In office
January 20, 2017 – January 20, 2018
President Donald Trump
Personal details
Born Omarose Onee Manigault
(1974-02-05) February 5, 1974 (age 44)
Youngstown, Ohio, U.S.
Political party Republican (2015–present)
Other political
affiliations
Democratic (before 2015)
Spouse(s)
  • Aaron Stallworth
    (m. 2000; div. 2005)
  • John Newman (m. 2017)
Domestic partner Michael Clarke Duncan
(esp. 2010; d. 2012)
Alma mater

Omarose Onee Manigault Newman (/ˌməˈrsə ˈmænɪˌɡɔːlt/; born February 5, 1974), commonly known as Omarosa, is an American reality television show participant, writer, and former political aide to President Donald Trump. She became widely known as a contestant on the first season of NBC's reality television series The Apprentice.

After becoming assistant to the president and director of communications for the Office of Public Liaison during the Trump administration in January of 2017, Newman resigned the White House on December 13, 2017. Subsequently, she competed on Celebrity Big Brother, making it to the final five of the season.

In August 2018, Newman released Unhinged, detailing her tenure at the White House and criticizing Trump and his administration. Two days before the book was released, she released the first of as many as 200 secret tapes she recorded during her White House tenure. As of 22 September 2018, she released four tapes. The first tape she released, which was secretly recorded inside the Situation Room, was described as "one of the worst White House security breaches ever,"[1] though the tape is thought not to violate the Espionage Act.[2]

Early life and career[edit]

Newman was born in Youngstown, Ohio, the daughter of Theresa Marie Walker and Jack Thomas Manigault, Sr. Omarosa's father was murdered when she was seven years old.[3] After graduating from The Rayen School in Youngstown, she earned a bachelor's degree in broadcast journalism[4] in 1996 at Central State University[5][6] in Wilberforce, Ohio.[7] She later moved to Washington, DC to attend Howard University, where she earned a master's degree[6] and worked toward a doctorate in communication, but did not finish.[8][9] Omarosa has also received biblical studies training at Payne Theological Seminary in Wilberforce, Ohio.[7]

In the 1990s, Newman worked in the office of Vice President Al Gore during the Clinton administration. She later said the job had been "a very difficult environment, because they don't believe in training. They just kind of throw you in the fire."[10] Gore's former office administrator, Mary Margaret Overbey, has said Omarosa "was the worst hire we ever made".[11] She was later transferred to the Commerce Department via the White House personnel office.[10] Cheryl Shavers, who then served as the Commerce Department's Undersecretary for Technology Administration, said that Omarosa was "unqualified and disruptive," adding, "I had her removed."[11]

Reality television career[edit]

First and seventh seasons of The Apprentice and The Ultimate Merger[edit]

Newman first came to public attention in 2004 after becoming a participant on the first season of NBC's reality television series, The Apprentice. Stemming from her controversial, blindsiding, alienating, dog-eat-dog, in-your-face and acrimonious tactics teamed with her eloquence and craftiness of game play on The Apprentice (particularly in its boardroom segments), she soon became the "woman America loved to hate"[12] and was named by E! as reality TV's number one bad girl. Through surprise attacks, cogency, refinement and strategy, she often proves herself a formidable competitor in reality television game shows, such as Celebrity Big Brother.[13] Omarosa 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. Omarosa has also claimed the show's producers have manipulated footage of her to make her look like the villain.[12] She was fired in week 9.

In January 2008, Newman participated in 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.[14] 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.[15]

In June 2010, Newman and Trump collaborated to create a dating show called The Ultimate Merger, with twelve men competing for Newman's affections. The show aired on TV One.[16]

Thirteenth season of The Apprentice[edit]

Newman in 2008

In February 2013, Omarosa returned to television and The Apprentice, appearing on Trump's All-Star Celebrity Apprentice. Omarosa quickly marshalled her team to an early victory on the show, winning a task involving the creation of a photo booth at Universal Orlando. In a later episode, Lil Jon's Team was brought back to the boardroom after they lost. Piers Morgan remarked "my argument against you has always been that you're not a celebrity... and you don't have star power." which led to a heated argument that resulted in Trump firing Omarosa. On Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, when asked by Jimmy Fallon whether or not she felt the show set her up by having Piers Morgan act as one of the judges, Omarosa answered, "I felt like I was competing against Piers, as well as the other contestants." Omarosa also noted that when she sees Morgan's show canceled in a year, it will be "the best revenge".[17]

Controversy[edit]

On The Oprah Winfrey Show in 2004, Newman accused fellow Apprentice participant Ereka Vetrini of calling her the "n-word", a claim Vetrini has denied.[18] Shortly after that appearance, Omarosa failed to show up for a scheduled appearance on the Jimmy Kimmel Live! show after she reportedly objected upon seeing a polygraph machine.[19]

Following her stint on Celebrity Apprentice: All Stars, Newman lashed out at La Toya Jackson over Jackson's remarks that insinuated that Omarosa had murdered her fiancé, Michael Clarke Duncan. Jackson made the remarks in Celebrity Apprentice confessionals and in following media interviews.[20] Omarosa said:

I've been in reality TV for a very long time, and I think that those were probably some of the most disgusting, despicable statements I've ever heard. And it will go down as some of the ugliest comments ever spoken on reality TV, but I have an incredible legal team who I've handed that all over to, and I'm sure they will handle her accordingly.[21]

Celebrity Big Brother[edit]

Newman appeared on the first season of Celebrity Big Brother, a spin-off of the Big Brother series. The show aired on the CBS network, February 7 to 25, 2018.[22] Newman remained in the game throughout that time, surviving elimination and winning multiple competitions right up until the finale, where she was one of the last five contestants standing. At one point, host Julie Chen speculated that Omarosa could win the entire season.[23] Throughout the season, she expressed her objections to working with Donald Trump and his administration as well as claims about her White House experience. Many of these political revelations garnered significant media attention and headline news. She placed fifth.[24]

Trump presidential campaign and administration[edit]

During the Republican National Convention in July 2016, Newman announced that she had been named Director of African-American Outreach for Donald Trump's presidential campaign.[25] 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, whoever disagreed, whoever challenged him. It is the ultimate revenge to become the most powerful man in the universe."[26][27] Shortly after Donald Trump won the election, Omarosa stated that Donald Trump has an "enemies" list of Republicans who voted against him in the presidential election.[28]

In December 2016, Newman was announced as one of nine additional members to President-elect Donald Trump's transition team.[29] In December 2016, Omarosa 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 Newman would join Trump's White House staff, focusing on public engagement.[30] Her specific title was made public the next day as Assistant to the President and Director of Communications for the Office of Public Liaison.[9] 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.[31]

In June 2017 Omarosa 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.[32][33] The CBC ultimately declined the invitation.[34] In August 2017, Omarosa was on a panel about losing loved ones to violence at the National Association of Black Journalists convention in New Orleans. She became involved 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.[35][36]

Departure[edit]

On December 13, 2017, the White House announced the resignation of Omarosa, effective January 20, 2018.[37][38] The United States Secret Service did not deny reports that Omarosa 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 Omarosa from the complex. The Secret Service's only involvement in the matter was to deactivate Omarosa's access pass.[39] CNN White House correspondent April Ryan reported that White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly fired Omarosa,[40][41] but Omarosa disputed the account, stating that she resigned.[42][43] But she had secretly taped her firing, and gave the tape to Chuck Todd to play on his NBC Meet The Press television show on August 12, 2018.[44]

In February 2018, Omarosa publicly criticized the Trump administration on the reality television program Celebrity Big Brother, and stated that she would not vote for Trump again.[45]

Unhinged[edit]

Omarosa wrote a book deeply critical of Trump titled Unhinged, which went on sale on August 14, 2018, in which she labels Trump a "racist", and states that witnesses have confirmed the existence of tapes of Trump repeatedly using the "n-word" ("nigger") during the filming of The Apprentice.[46] White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that the book is "riddled with lies and false accusations" and accused Omarosa of "trying to profit off these false attacks." When questioned about whether a tape exists of Trump using the "n-word", Sanders said she "can't guarantee anything".[47] Omarosa said that she had turned down an offer of a $15,000 per month "senior position" in the Trump 2020 re-election campaign from Lara Trump, which came with a non-disclosure agreement that was as "harsh and restrictive" as any she had seen in her television career.[48]

Personal life[edit]

Omarosa had an older brother, Jack Thomas Manigault Jr., who was murdered in 2011.[49][50][51]

In 2000, Omarosa married Aaron Stallworth and changed her last name to Manigault-Stallworth. They separated in 2005 and divorced later that year.[52][53] She reverted to her surname, and eventually started using her first name mononymously.[54][55]

In August 2009, Omarosa enrolled at the United Theological Seminary in Ohio to pursue a Doctor of Ministry degree.[56] She received a preacher's license in February 2011 from her church (Weller Street Missionary Baptist Church in Los Angeles, California) and was formally ordained on February 27, 2012.[57] In February 2012, she was working on finishing her degree at Payne Theological Seminary.[57] Omarosa said on Oprah: Where Are They Now? that she is an ordained Baptist minister. In the segment, Omarosa said that she was brought to the decision after traveling to West Africa, where she found herself alone in an orphanage with a little girl dying of AIDS. Omarosa said, of her interaction with the little girl,

It was at that moment, looking into the face, in the eyes of this dying child that I received my call to the ministry. Upon returning to the United States, I put reality television on hold. I put everything on hold and returned to seminary full-time ...

There were people who felt like because I had done the show so many years ago that maybe that disqualified me from the ministry. I'm not really certain. But boy did I hear from the critics, and to them I have to say that they underestimate the power of God's ability to transform a person's life.[58]

On August 13, 2010, Omarosa confirmed that she was dating actor Michael Clarke Duncan, whom she had met in the produce section of a Whole Foods supermarket.[59][60] In July 2012, she found Duncan in cardiac arrest and performed CPR. Though Omarosa was able to resuscitate him,[61] he never fully recovered from the heart attack and died on September 3, 2012, after two months in hospital.[62] Seven months after his death and according to Duncan's family and friends,[63] Omarosa was suspicious for changing his will and testament.[64] She also manipulated him in his final days, lied about her engagement and sold Duncan's stuff without the family’s knowledge.[65][66]

Omarosa married John Allen Newman on April 8, 2017, at Trump's Washington, D.C., hotel, in the Presidential Ballroom of the Old Post Office Pavilion. Newman is the Senior Pastor of The Sanctuary at Mt. Calvary, a church in Jacksonville, Florida.[67] After the wedding, Omarosa took her bridal party to do a photo shoot in the White House, but she was unable to post her photos because of concerns over ethics and security.[68]

Television[edit]

Year Show Notes
2004 The Apprentice 8th Place
2004 Girls Behaving Badly Season 4, Episode 15
2005 Fear Factor 4th Place
2005 The Surreal Life Season 5
2006 Flavor of Love Season 2
2008 Celebrity Apprentice 6th Place
2008 The Wendy Williams Show Guest
2009 The Great Debate Commentary
2010 The Ultimate Merger Host
2010 The Arrangement (2010 TV series) Season 1, Episode 5
2012 The Eric Andre Show Guest
2013 All-Star Celebrity Apprentice 10th Place
2013 The Oprah Winfrey Show Guest
2013 The Wendy Williams Show Guest
2017 Say Yes to the Dress Season 15, Episode 5
2018 Celebrity Big Brother 5th Place
2018 The Talk Guest
2018 The Late Show with Stephen Colbert Guest
2018 The Daily Show with Trevor Noah Guest (August 14 2018)

Books[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]