Omarosa Manigault Newman is leaving the Trump administration. Did she help woo black support?
She is among President Trump’s most high-profile black supporters, a reality television star turned government official.
Now, Omarosa Manigault Newman is set to leave her role as director of communications in the White House Office of Public Liaison, a position in which she was tasked with working on outreach to various constituency groups.
On Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement that Manigault Newman was resigning to pursue other opportunities effective Jan. 20, one year to the date after Trump’s inauguration.
Throughout last year’s campaign, Manigault Newman, who had been a contestant on Trump’s reality TV show, “The Apprentice,” often appeared at rallies alongside the candidate. She held meet-and-greets between Trump and African American clergy and helped arrange visits during his run for the presidency in predominantly black inner-city neighborhoods.
All of this came as Trump characterized African Americans as “living in hell” during campaign speeches, while also facing repeated questions about racial discrimination lawsuits related to his New York apartment rental businesses in the 1970s.
But Manigault Newman’s efforts did not translate to much support — Trump won just 8% of the black vote, while Democrat Hillary Clinton took 88%.
Even so, for much of her tenure in the White House, Manigault Newman did tout her efforts to woo African American support for Trump. She served as a liaison of sorts between the White House and leaders of the Congressional Black Caucus. She helped coordinate meetings between Trump and the presidents of historically black colleges and universities.
Cornell Belcher, a Democratic pollster who worked on President Obama’s campaigns, said Wednesday that Manigault Newman’s role was never clearly defined.
“She appeared on Trump’s shows — seemed to be loyal, which Trump liked — and was supposedly doing outreach to the African American community, but there was never any strong relationship,” Belcher said. “I think almost anyone given the task of any sort of black outreach for a president who has sympathized with neo-Nazis and white supremacists was going to fail.”
In recent months, Trump has been assailed for saying “both sides” were to blame for the violence at a white supremacist rally in August in Charlottesville, Va., where a woman was killed. And more recently, Trump has repeatedly targeted black professional athletes on social media, castigating, among others, players who kneel during the national anthem to protest police brutality.
“None of this has helped her job, or her supposed outreach, to African Americans,” Belcher said.
And Manigault Newman has had her own battles with other prominent African Americans.
Earlier this year, April D. Ryan, Washington bureau chief for American Urban Radio Networks, alleged that Manigault Newman “physically intimidated” her. Manigault Newman denied the accusation.
And in August, Manigault Newman sparred with members of the National Assn. of Black Journalists at their conference in New Orleans. Speaking on a panel titled “Black and Blue: Raising Our Sons, Protecting Our Communities,” she battled panel host Ed Gordon, a veteran journalist. Gordon pressed her about her White House role and she repeatedly sidestepped the questions.
On Wednesday, there were widespread reports that Manigault Newman was forced out — fired by White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly — and that she left the building lobbing vulgarities. Ryan was among those tweeting that Manigault Newman was escorted from the White House cursing.
As for public talk of their split, Trump late Wednesday thanked Manigault Newman for her service.
She, however, had not posted any messages about her departure.
The Alabama Senate loss just made Trump’s job a lot harder
President Trump seems keen on picking fights with athletes. Or is it with black athletes?
Rod Rosenstein pushes back on Republican criticism of special counsel investigation
4:20 p.m.: This article was updated to note President Trump tweeted about Manigault Newman’s departure.
This article was originally published at 1:50 p.m.
Must-read stories from the L.A. Times
Get the day's top news with our Today's Headlines newsletter, sent every weekday morning.
You may occasionally receive promotional content from the Los Angeles Times.