US President Donald Trump has lashed out at former aide and The Apprentice contestant Omarosa Manigault Newman, attacking her intelligence after she released a recording of a call with the President in which he appeared not to know she'd been let go from her White House job the day before.
"Wacky Omarosa, who got fired 3 times on the Apprentice, now got fired for the last time," Trump said in a posting on Twitter. "She never made it, never will. She begged me for a job, tears in her eyes, I said Ok. People in the White House hated her. She was vicious, but not smart."
The former reality TV villain's latest revelation follows her release of a tape she said she'd secretly made of her 2017 firing by chief of staff John Kelly. Trump aides have sought to aggressively counter her claims, which coincide with the release of Manigault Newman's new tell-all book.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders called her "a disgruntled former White House employee" in a statement on Sunday.
In a phone call Manigault Newman claims to have recorded with Trump after Kelly fired her, aired on Tuesday, the President asks: "Omarosa what's going on? I just saw on the news that you're thinking about leaving. What happened?"
After Manigault Newman told Trump she'd been fired, he responded: "No, nobody even told me about it. You know they run a big operation, but I didn't know it."
The White House has not disputed the authenticity of Manigault Newman's recordings. Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani said that the thinks Manigault Newman violated the law by taping Trump and other White House officials.
"The President makes the decisions in this White House," White House deputy press secretary Hogan Gidley said on Fox News. "I'm not going to get into the tick-tock of who knew what and when."
Gidley said taping the meetings was an ethical breach of private conversations, and said Manigault Newman has "zero credibility."
In a subsequent tweet, Trump disparaged Manigault Newman and said he wanted to ensure the "Fake News Media" doesn't lend her an air of credibility.
In Unhinged: An Insider's Account of the Trump White House, Manigault Newman, one of relatively few African-American people in the White House, accuses the President of having used racial slurs on the set of The Apprentice reality TV show, which aired on NBC.
Manigault Newman told NBC News on Tuesday that the title of her book was aimed directly at Trump. She said Kelly is running the White House.
"John Kelly is running this White House and Donald Trump has no clue what's going on," she said. "He's being puppeted, and that's very dangerous for this nation."
"He absolutely has an issue with the truth, and sometimes he battles with reality," she said of Trump.
During the taped call, Trump is heard telling Manigault Newman of her firing: "Goddammit. I don't love you leaving at all. Nobody even told me about it."
In his tweets on Monday morning (local time), Trump claimed that Manigault Newman frequently missed work commitments and was called a "loser" by Kelly.
During her interview on NBC, Manigault Newman claimed that during her firing she was locked in the White House situation room and denied access to counsel, which she said amounted to "false imprisonment".
She defended bringing a recording device in to the situation room, a significant breach of protocol and potential national security issue.
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