In an interview with ABC News’ Nightline, the latest departure from a Trump appointed White House administration acknowledged that the president’s advisory team did lack diversity, but stopped short of calling him a racist.
In the interview, Omarosa Manigault Newman — who was ousted from her position as the director of communications for the Office of Public Liaison earlier this week — told Nightline that while Trump was racial, he is not the racist many accuse him of being.
“Yes, I will acknowledge many of the exchanges, particularly in the last six months, have been racially charged,” she said. “Do we then just stop and label him as a racist? No.”
Her former boss has come under fire for his handling of issues that involve people of color. Over the summer, he refused to denounce white nationalists who staged riots in Charlottesville, Virginia to protest the removal of Confederate statues, saying that both sides — the other being anti-racism activists — were to blame. A white nationalist mowed down protesters during these demonstrations, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer.
In past months, the president has also engaged and attacked visible Black people, from ESPN anchor Jemele Hill to Congresswoman Frederica Wilson. His history is also dotted with strategic attacks against Black people, from calling for the death penalty for the Central Park 5 to housing discrimination lawsuits.
But Manigault, who has been fired by Trump multiple times in their years-long friendship, insists these exchanges are not racist.
Surprisingly, she did acknowledge that being the only Black woman in the White House had some drawbacks.
“It has been very, very challenging being the only African-American woman in the senior staff,” she said. “There was a lack of diversity that I will acknowledge.”