The former reality star turned polarizing political operative says she’s remained in contact with current White House staffers, even after she spilled the beans on President Trump’s administration in the book “Unhinged: An Insider’s Account of the Trump White House,” which is out in paperback this week.
“I have talked to a lot of people who currently serve in the White House, and who previously served in the White House,” Manigault Newman, 45, told the Daily News.
“Let's think about the people who have left,” she continued. “So many of them have gone through very similar experiences like me, where Donald Trump publicly had someone else get rid of them or whatever. There is a whole, long line of people that he's treated that way. There is a group of us who talk and who communicate, and who commiserate.”
One of Trump’s prominent 2016 campaign staffers, Manigault Newman was appointed as Assistant to the President and Director of Communications for the Office of Public Liaison after Trump took the oath of office in 2017. She was fired from that role in December 2017 – then channeled her vitriol for her book, which was released in August. The book was supported by numerous audio recordings she made during her time in the White House.
Manigault Newman was mum when it came to naming names this time around.
“I'm not gonna betray the confidence of my friends and my colleagues,” she said. “We interact, let's just say that. No, we don't have a [group chat]. And there are people who are currently [working] there who are not comfortable. They feel afraid to leave because they know that the work that they're doing is so important. And they also know that he's erratic, and he hasn't been filling positions of people who leave.”
“He doesn't see the need to fill those positions. You can't run a private company with 40% of your staff vacant,” she said. “Why does he think he can run the government that way? I just don't understand it. It alarms me. And it should concern all Americans.
Amid Trump’s tumultuous first term in office, Manigault Newman doesn’t believe he’ll stand a chance in the 2020 election.
“He has demonstrated that he does not have the fortitude, the intellect, the temperament, the self-control to be the Leader of the Free World,” she maintained. “And the American people will give you a chance to serve and to lead, but if they see you flailing as he is, then they will replace you.”
“Remember, he serves because of the will of the people,” she continued. “They gave him a chance and he squandered it.”
The Youngstown, Ohio native, who also served in the Clinton Administration, believes Trump’s base is diminishing and many of the people who supported him early on have lost hope in him.
“He has been losing support, not gaining support,” she said.
“In order for him to win, he has to expand his base. But if you look at the trend lines, his base is shrinking. You have to figure out where he is going to make up the difference, particularly in those really competitive races in battleground states, like the state of Ohio, where I grew up. What happens you go into Cuyahoga County or Mahoning County? What happens when you get into Greene County in the south? He's going to face challenges that he did not face the first time around. And he has to somehow find a way to make up those gaps.”
Speaking of 2020, the self-proclaimed “free thinker,” who has aligned herself with swing voters, is planning to lead a movement to elect anyone other than the current White House occupant.
“Hashtag anybody but Trump,” she deadpanned.
“I’ve been in politics 20 years," Manigault Newman said. "This is the first time in 20 years that I don’t have to take a position... I’m going to sit back and look at all the candidates, Republican and Democrat, and they’re both going to have to earn my support and my vote, and I will decide.”
One candidate from the 2020 field stands out to Manigault Newman, however.
“I’m not supporting any particular candidate,” she said, adding, “I will say that I’m a little partial because I’m a proud graduate of Howard University, and to see a very smart, intelligent African-American woman from my own university running, I believe will have an incredible impact on young women like myself entering politics, serving at the highest levels and being engaged in a process that we were not necessarily given access to.”
“And I think it pays wonderful homage to Shirley Chisholm, another New Yorker, who was willing to take that big leap,” she added. “I like to just highlight Kamala Harris, if I could, and the significance of her being in this race.”