Omarosa Manigault, the director of communications for the White
House’s Office of Public Liaison, engaged in a contentious
exchange Friday during an appearance at the National
Association of Black Journalists’ convention in New
Manigault, a controversial former
“Apprentice” star, was invited to speak on
a panel concerning police brutality alongside the
mothers of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, two men
killed by police.
At one point during the panel, the moderator, BET’s Ed
Gordon, played a recording of
Trump appearing to advocate for police misconduct,
telling officers to not be “too nice” to those they arrest.
When asked about the comments, which inflamed civil-rights
activists and led to criticism from police
departments around the country, Manigault refused to “defend
every single word and decision” Trump makes.
“I’m not going to stand here and defend everything about Donald
Trump,” Manigault said, according
to BuzzFeed reporter Adrian Carrasquillo.
But Manigault reportedly said that
it was wrong of Trump to joke about police roughing people
Manigault acknowledged being one of the only senior black
officials in the White House and said that it’s her
“responsibility” to bring stakeholders in the black community
into policy discussions, Carrasquillo reported.
“Omarosa says issues of black community are brought up in admin
because she is there,” Carrasquillo
When asked how she is working with the Department of Justice on
policing issues, Manigault responded, “Google me,” New York
Times reporter Yamiche Alcindor tweeted. She also reportedly
said, “I don’t work at the Justice Department — it’s not even
part of my portfolio.”
Manigualt’s invitation to speak, which was made after two panel
members pulled out unexpectedly, was highly controversial from
“The majority there don’t want her involved. It’s heavy drama —
even the moderator is refusing. Everyone sees it as extremely
offensive,” an unnamed source
told the New York Post.
During the panel, several activists in the audience stood and
turned their backs to the stage in protest.
Manigult took offense at her reception, at one point saying,
“Walking into a room where you get shut down does not open a line
of communication so change can happen.”
A Howard University student, Maya King, tweeted
a video of Manigault and Gordon on their feet
arguing with each other on stage, adding that the two were
“giving every single journalist in this room what they came
for — drama.”
“I’ll see y’all at the White House Christmas party in December,”
said as Manigault walked out of the room.