When Omarosa Manigault-Newman learned she was being ousted from her White House post on Tuesday, she decided to try to confront her boss, President Donald Trump, making a beeline for the White House residence to appeal directly to the one person who still remains her ally.
But it wasn’t to be. She was stopped before she could had the chance to actually barge into the residence, and by Wednesday morning, Omarosa’s resignation had officially been announced. Whether it was actually a resignation—or if she was in effect fired—is another question.
Multiple sources with knowledge of the incident recounted a “ruckus” on Tuesday night involving Omarosa, the reality TV villain turned the communications director of the White House’s Office of Public Liaison. One White House official said she had even tried to “storm the residence” after learning that she was being forced out less than a year into Trump’s White House tenure. She was ultimately thwarted by staff. Reports later emerged that she had to be escorted from the campus on Tuesday.
“It was actually the closest thing to reality TV [I’d experienced] since getting here,” a White House official told The Daily Beast.
The White House is publicly maintaining that Omarosa resigned on good terms in order “to pursue other opportunities.” But administration sources say she was forced out after months of grating on a wide variety of senior White House officials, including former chief of staff Reince Priebus and current chief of staff John Kelly.
“Omarosa is pulling a Gorka,” a senior White House official told The Daily Beast, likening her departure to the “resignation” of former White House aide Sebastian Gorka, who was also ousted following chief strategist Steve Bannon’s departure. As with Omarosa, accounts from inside the White House described it more as a sacking than a resignation.
“It was more of a ‘you can’t fire me, I quit’ situation,” said another White House official of Omarosa’s departure.
Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders painted a different picture in a statement on Wednesday morning, which noted that Omarosa will remain on staff until Jan. 20, the anniversary of Trump’s inauguration. “We wish her the best in future endeavors and are grateful for her service,” Sanders said. She declined to speak on the record about the specific circumstances of Omarosa’s departure.
The Secret Service referred The Daily Beast’s questions about Omarosa’s reported removal from the premises to the White House press office. However, hours later on Wednesday, the Secret Service posted two tweets addressing the issue and asserted that the “Secret Service was not involved in the termination process of Ms Manigault Newman or the escort off of the complex. Our only involvement in this matter was to deactivate the individual’s pass which grants access to the complex.”
Previously, Sanders has been quick to paint various articles about Omarosa-related drama in the White House as inventions of the press—“fake news,” as her boss would erroneously call it.
Omarosa also did not respond to numerous requests for comment via email, text, and phone call. After a Daily Beast reporter left a voicemail, subsequent calls were directed to a message saying her voicemail box had not been set up.
BuzzFeed reported on Wednesday that Omarosa had grown tired of racially tinged controversies in the White House, in particular Trump’s widely criticized reaction to the white supremacist attack on demonstrators at a rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August.
But as late as September, a month after the attack, Omarosa was still bragging about her access to the president, the confidence he placed in her, and her essential presence in the administration—and complaining that elements in the White House, particularly the remnants of a team of staffers who moved over from the Republican National Committee after last year’s election, were out to get her.
Despite her claims to prominence, sources with knowledge of the situation say Omarosa was rarely if ever present in recent high-level White House meetings, and had virtually no say in official decision-making of any consequence.
“Her importance [in the White House] is 100% overrated,” a senior Trump administration official familiar with Omarosa’s role told The Daily Beast on Wednesday. “She was just a non-entity. [It] wasn’t even clear what she was working on.”
According to her colleagues, Omarosa had been complaining lately about loss of her previously regular direct access to President Trump, particularly in the Oval Office. Her duties were left undefined, and her portfolio in OPL and minority outreach lacked forward momentum or any concrete accomplishments.
Earlier this year, sources in and around the White House, all of whom said it was not clear from day to day what exactly Omarosa’s role at the White House was. Those sources previously recounted to The Daily Beast that Omarosa’s presence in meetings during the first few months of the administration were a frequent source of annoyance for White House senior staff—and that she was “despised,” in the words of a source close to the White House.
Omarosa also had a tendency, as one West Wing official told The Daily Beast in September, of stopping by the Oval Office and “triggering the president” with gossip and rumors about White House palace intrigue.
Her distracting presence in the West Wing—where Omarosa did not have an office, but was known to leave numerous pairs of shoes—led chief of staff John Kelly to quickly sideline Omarosa to the greatest degree possible. “When Gen. Kelly is talking about clamping down on access to the Oval, she’s patient zero,” a source close to the administration said at the time.
Despite that internal turmoil, Omarosa has managed to outlast a chief of staff, a chief strategist, two communications directors, a national security adviser, and a press secretary, among other senior White House officials.
Omarosa’s staying power is due entirely to her longtime closeness with the president. Even White House colleagues who vehemently dislike her say she is one of the few aides outside of Trump’s family who the president considers entirely loyal and trustworthy.
And she retains some defenders in Trump’s political orbit. Darrell Scott, a Cleveland-area pastor and former Trump transition official, told The Daily Beast that Omarosa is “a brilliant person with an unlimited future. I enjoyed working with her on issues pertinent to the urban communities of America.”
But within the White House itself, her allies are nearly nonexistent outside of the Oval Office. As one Republican official told The Daily Beast, “She doesn’t have any friends in high places—except the one place it matters.”