Omarosa has very little credibility, as well as a history of publicity stunts, so there is plenty of reason to doubt her claims. When this story initially broke, I didn’t think it was worth covering, but two things changed that.
First, ace Washington Post White House reporter Josh Dawsey confirmed some claims she made in her upcoming book, Unhinged: An Insider’s Account of the Trump White House. The Daily Beast reported earlier this week that Manigault secretly taped some conversations she had in the White House. Dawsey listened to those tapes, and he reported that they match quotes that Omarosa includes in her book. Dawsey went on to describe Omarosa’s unverified contention that she was offered $15,000 per month to stay quiet:
After she was fired, Manigault Newman wrote, she received a call from Trump campaign adviser Lara Trump, the president’s daughter-in-law, offering her a job and the monthly contract in exchange for her silence.
The proposed nondisclosure agreement allegedly said Manigault Newman could not make any comments about President Trump or his family; Vice President Pence or his family; or any comments that could damage the president. It said she would do “diversity outreach,” among other things, for the campaign, according to her account.
“The NDA attached to the email was as harsh and restrictive as any I’d seen in all my years of television,” Manigault Newman writes in the book.
The other piece of evidence buttressing Omarosa’s claim is that there is a former Trump administration official currently making $15,000 per month who is not speaking to the media. Per Christina Wilkie at CNBC back in February:
When President Donald Trump’s longtime bodyguard Keith Schiller decided to leave his White House job last fall, many in the West Wing wondered how the president would manage without his personal security chief-turned-confidant, who had been working for Trump nearly 20 years.
As it turns out, Schiller didn’t go very far. Within weeks of leaving his job as director of Oval Office operations, Schiller’s private security firm, KS Global Group, began collecting $15,000 a month for “security services” from the Republican National Committee.
According to an RNC official, Schiller is being paid for security consulting on the site selection process for the 2020 Republican National Convention. Schiller’s fee comes out of the RNC’s convention fund, not its campaign fund, the official noted.
The report doesn’t address whether Schiller signed a non-disclosure agreement as part of that agreement, but given Trump’s aggressive history of intimidation by litigation, it would be surprising if he didn’t make signing an NDA a requirement of everyone leaving the White House.
There are plenty of other noteworthy and eye-opening excerpts from Omarosa’s book, but they are wholly unverified, and frankly, I don’t buy them so I won’t bother printing them here. If you’re desperate for unverified gossip, The Washington Post’s recap of the book has you covered, and it’s a certainty that you will hear about these anecdotes in the days ahead. Reporter Adrian Carrasquillo skewered the logic inherent in one of Omarosa’s assertions.
The only literally unbelievable story in the book that may have some corroboration is this tidbit about Trump’s supposed strange proclivity for destroying paper records. Per WaPo:
In early 2017, Manigault Newman says she walked Michael Cohen, then Trump’s personal lawyer, into the Oval Office for a meeting with Trump — and saw the president chewing up a piece of paper while Cohen was leaving the office. Another White House official confirmed that Manigault Newman brought Cohen into the White House and was later rebuked for it. The two remain in contact, according to people familiar with the relationship.
“I saw him put a note in his mouth. Since Trump was ever the germaphobe, I was shocked he appeared to be chewing and swallowing the paper. It must have been something very, very sensitive,” she writes in her book.
There is no evidence anywhere supporting her claim that Trump eats paper, but two people who were tasked with putting Trump’s mess back together told Politico earlier this year that Trump routinely destroys paper documents. Per Politico:
Trump, in contrast, does not have those preservationist instincts. One person familiar with how Trump operates in the Oval Office said he would rip up “anything that happened to be on his desk that he was done with.” Some aides advised him to stop, but the habit proved difficult to break.
When your entire life has been spent running de facto criminal enterprises, it makes sense why you would want to destroy as many records leading back to you as possible. That said, I find it pretty hard to believe that Trump was eating paper, but we clearly live in the dumbest possible timeline, so anything is possible. Odds are good that this is not the last that we’ll hear of Omarosa’s travails inside the White House, given that this weekend’s Sunday shows have her booked ahead of what is certain to be an absolutely insane press tour for her new book that we can confirm is at least partially true.
Jacob Weindling is a staff writer for Paste politics. Follow him on Twitter at @Jakeweindling.