Omarosa Manigault Newman, the former Apprentice star who campaigned for President Trump and then followed him to the White House, on Monday accused her former boss of pay discrimination in new court documents.
Manigault Newman made the allegations in a declaration submitted with a proposed collective-action lawsuit against Trump being spearheaded by former 2016 Trump campaign staffer Alva Johnson.
In February, Johnson, who is black, filed a federal lawsuit claiming the campaign paid her less than her white and male counterparts and that the president forcibly kissed her before an August 2016 rally in Florida.
“While I strongly suspected I was subjected to pay discrimination while with the Trump campaign, I have since seen expert analysis confirming this to be true,” Manigault Newman said in a statement. “The numbers don’t lie.” She served as the Trump 2016 campaign’s director of African-American outreach and then as communications director for the White House’s office of public liaison.
Manigault Newman’s declaration specifically mentions Bryan Lanza, the former Trump for President deputy communications director and Trump Transition Team communications director, as someone “whose work required substantially equal skill, effort, and responsibility as mine” but “was paid more than me.”
According to FEC filings, Manigault Newman was paid $28,000 for two months of her services, while Lanza was paid about $62,000 for three months of consulting work.
Manigault Newman was ousted from the White House in December 2017.
“After nearly 20 years inside the beltway, working for two White Houses and countless political campaigns, I’ve never witnessed such egregious violations as I did during my time under the leadership of Donald Trump and Mike Pence,” she added, “I am joining this effort for women and minorities to help level the playing field in the political arena between men and women. It is time for all of us to blow the whistle on the wrongdoings of this campaign.”
In Monday’s motion, Johnson’s attorneys asked a judge to certify the lawsuit as a collective action, citing Manigault Newman’s claims and an analysis of FEC filings that allegedly show the campaign “maintained a common policy, uniformly applicable to all members of the putative collective, of paying female employees less than their male counterparts for the same or similar work.”
An analysis of publicly available data from May through Dec. 2016 shows that, “excluding a small handful of employees in senior leadership roles, on average, females were paid $3,865 monthly and males were paid $4,568—a stunning gap of 18.2 percent,” Monday’s court documents claim.
The court documents also point to a report from The Boston Globe in June 2016, which found that Trump paid men on his campaign staff on average 35 percent more than he paid women.
Johnson’s initial complaint, filed in February, claimed that her “compensation was substantially lower than that paid to other campaign staff who had the same responsibilities as she did.” She identified several men who were allegedly paid more than she was despite doing similar work.
“This case is about two things: Donald Trump’s predation, and his campaign’s discrimination against women and people of color,” Johnson’s attorney Hassan Zavareei said Monday. “Our filing today advances our claim for sex discrimination by seeking collective action certification on behalf of female campaign staffers.”
He added, “If our motion is granted, we will be able to provide notice to other female employees to invite them to join the lawsuit.”
In addition to Johnson and Manigault Newman, another paid organizer for Trump’s campaign, who was fired in Jan. 2019, filed a complaint that month with the Davenport Civil Rights Commission in Iowa claiming that men doing the same jobs as women were paid more.
Johnson’s lawsuit first made headlines earlier this year over its claims that Trump allegedly grabbed Johnson’s hand and leaned in to kiss her at a campaign event. The 43-year-old has said she turned her head to avoid the “super-creepy and inappropriate” kiss, which landed on the side of her mouth.
“She feels partly responsible for helping put a sexual predator into the White House, and she believes she has an obligation to tell her story and to hold him accountable for what he’s done to her but to so many other women,” Zavareei told The Daily Beast at the time.
Trump’s attorneys on Friday motioned for the lawsuit to be dismissed and, in court records, repeatedly called the allegations in Johnson’s suit “scandalous, immaterial, impertinent and prejudicial.”
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders has said the kiss “never happened and is directly contradicted by multiple highly credible eyewitness accounts.”
More than a dozen other women have come forward with allegations of misconduct against President Trump, including groping, forcible kisses, and attempted rape.