If Bill Maher had some trouble besting Steve Bannon in a political debate last week, he was faced with a less formidable opponent this Friday night in Omarosa Manigault-Newman.
The author of Unhinged was the top of the show guest on Real Time and from the moment she sat down across from Maher, she seemed more at ease than she has been in previous interviews. For the most part, it was a surprisingly congenial interview.
Omarosa laughed as Maher suggested that “the swamp has moved into the White House” with Donald Trump. She was flattered as the host called her a “one-name star” like Cher. But things took a turn when Maher brought up one of her most infamous comments about the president during the 2016 campaign.
“Every critic, every detractor, will have to bow down to President Trump,” she said as part of PBS’ Frontline documentary The Choice 2016. “It’s everyone who’s ever doubted Donald, whoever disagreed, whoever challenged him—it is the ultimate revenge to become the most powerful man in the universe.”
“Look, I’m not out to get you, I never didn’t like you, you’re fine,” Maher told her. “But the one thing I didn’t like is that after you guys got elected, you said that thing about, everyone’s going to have to ‘bow down’ to Donald Trump. That’s not the way we talk in America.”
Channeling her days as a reality-show villain on The Apprentice, Omarosa shot back, “You of all people, Bill, know about saying that one dumb thing that everybody…” She trailed off and shot him a sly smile, clearly referencing the “N-word” Maher dropped on his show—and later apologized for—more than a year ago.
Maher was not amused. “I mean, you’re not the first guest to try that exact joke,” he told her. “I could actually argue the merits of it, but we’ll move on.”
Omarosa admitted that her comment was “stupid” and something she said “at the height of campaign hyperbole.” She told Maher she didn’t really believe everyone was going to “bow down” to Trump, but at the time had an “audience of one.”
Soon, they were back to joking about Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, or “White House Ken and Barbie,” as Omarosa said everyone in the West Wing referred to them while she was there. When Maher asked if they are “smart,” she simply burst out laughing.
According to Omarosa, Kushner is “that guy who thinks he’s the smartest guy in the room and has absolutely no idea what’s going on.” She added, “He didn’t even know basic political jargon and when you try to correct him he gives you that posture of, ‘Are you, a woman of color, really trying to tell me something?’ So the sad thing about Jared is that he doesn’t know how stupid he sounds when he’s talking in those meetings.”
As for Ivanka Trump, Omarosa seemed to fulfill Maher’s fantasies about her relationship with her father, saying that she saw the president “pat her on the behind, kiss her on the lips and rub her for very long periods of time.”
“Keep talking,” Maher joked. “What was her reaction?”
“She loved it,” Omarosa replied. “She loved being daddy’s little girl.”