Omarosa Manigault Newman, the former White House staffer and contestant on “The Apprentice,” claims in a new book set to be released on Tuesday that President Trump had an unprecedented idea for his inauguration.
“He asked me, ‘Omarosa, what do you think about me getting sworn in on “The Art of the Deal?”’ she writes in “Unhinged: An Insider’s Account of the Trump White House.”
“I said, ‘Instead of the Bible?’” she continues.
“Yeah. The Art of the Deal is a bestseller!” Trump replied, according to her account. “It’s the greatest business book of all time. It’s how I’m going to make great deals for the country. Just think how many copies I’d sell—maybe a commemorative inauguration copy?!”
Throughout the book—which includes claims that have already been questioned by former Republican National Committee chair Michael Steele; George Conway, the wife of White House counselor Kellyanne Conway; and Republican pollster Frank Luntz—Manigault Newman dishes on her years on “The Apprentice,” during which she was “fired” three times, and her brief tenure at the White House.
Among the more lurid anecdotes: a 2008 episode of “Celebrity Apprentice” in which KISS rocker Gene Simmons supposedly leered at Trump’s daughter Ivanka in front of others on set.
“I hadn’t been on the show for nearly three years, and during that time, the off-camera outtakes in the boardroom were still very revealing,” Manigualt Newman writes. “During one long break, Gene [Simmons] and Donald engaged in language so profane, it would have raised eyebrows in prison. Donald asked Gene, ‘What do you think of Ivanka? How’s she doing?’ “What followed was a vile exchange, right in front of Ivanka, with Gene Simmons talking about her in a room full of people. While leering openly at her breasts, he said, ‘She’s a very, very sexy, desirable young woman who I’m looking forward to getting to know much better if you know what I mean, with all due respect.’
“Her father egged him on. Ivanka groaned dismissively and tried to get them to change subjects. I have to assume she’d been dealing with this her whole life and was used to it. Everyone else in the room was shocked, not by Gene’s language (we knew he was a disgusting pig), but by Donald’s obvious delight in hearing it. He had complete control of the boardroom. He could have shut it down at any point. But he didn’t.”
Simmons couldn't be reached for comment about the alleged incident.
Manigault Newman also touched on Trump’s documented obsession with “The Amazing Race” beating out “The Apprentice” for Emmys. She said that he fumed as he left one of the award ceremonies with wife Melania. “I saw him briefly as he was walking up the aisle to leave the auditorium, and he was livid. ‘We were robbed! They cheated us!’ he said in full voice. ‘I’m so pissed, Omarosa. They cheated us!’ and then he was gone,” she writes.
The second section of the book focuses on Manigault Newman joining the presidential campaign, which she describes as a fairly disorganized operation where no one suspected early on that Trump would win.
In her telling, she had a phone call with longtime Trump attorney Michael Cohen in which he “proceeded, very excitedly, to talk about how I could continue doing, in an official capacity, what I’d been doing as a surrogate to help change the public perception about Trump’s attitudes toward women and African Americans.”
“And that kid who shot up the black church doesn’t help us, either,” Cohen told her, according to Newman—referring to Dylann Roof, the 21-year-old white supremacist who had killed nine in Charleston, South Carolina.
This stretch of the book rips through important moments in the campaign at breakneck speed, with few pauses for extensive details and ramifications. On the anniversary of Sept. 11, when Hillary Clinton fell at Ground Zero, Newman writes that “Lara [Trump] and the others said things like ‘She’s sick! She’s not going to to make it to election night! She’s sick!’
“They were gleeful that Clinton appeared to be gravely ill. Many people in Trumpworld believed that she was concealing a serious neurological medical condition—Parkinson’s was mentioned often. They thought that her untreated pneumonia might have been the cause of her collapse, but if you truly had pneumonia, why would you go visit your infant granddaughter? Many suspected there was an underlying condition as well.”
The final section of the book is about the transition to the White House and her time before she was booted. In a claim that is not hard to believe, she says Trump called family and Cabinet members names behind their backs: “Ditzy DeVos” for Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and “Benjamin Button,” for Attorney General Jeff Sessions among them.
By her account, while Trump was watching a clip of a briefing featuring former White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, he groused, “He looks like a spokesman from Men’s Warehouse. Cheap and tacky.”
When Donald Trump Jr. released a chain of emails about his meeting with Russian officials in Trump Tower—now a key part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation—she went to Trump and said: “I’m sorry to hear about Don.”
According to her, Trump responded,“He is such a fuck-up. He screwed up again, but this time, he’s screwing us all, big time!”
Trump, she writes, “wasn’t always such a fan” of his son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner. “When he and Ivanka first started dating, I asked Donald what he thought of Jared,” she writes. “‘He seems a little sweet to me,’ he said, using his phrasing for ‘gay.’”
Broadly, Newman describes a White House that was growing more dysfunctional by the day and questions the mental health of the president.
“I’ll go on the record and say that Donald Trump has never read from beginning to end any of the major pieces of legislation, policies or even some of the executive orders that he has signed,” she writes. “Donald has only a surface-level understanding of the content he’s signing into law.”
Newman says that she had growing concerns about the president’s health that peaked during his interview with NBC News’ Lester Holt in which Trump seemed to openly suggest that his firing of former FBI Director James Comey had to do with the “this Russia thing.”
“Donald rambled. He spoke gibberish. He contradicted himself from one sentence to the next,” she writes. “While watching the interview, I realized something real and serious was going on in Donald’s brain. His mental decline could not be denied. Many in the White House didn’t notice it as keenly as I did because I knew him way back when. They thought Trump was being Trump, off the cuff. But I knew something wasn’t right.”
When a neo-Nazi killed a woman during the rally in Charlottesville a year ago, Trump was literally asleep, she claims.
“[Former Homeland Security Adviser Tom] Bossert told me that, after [James] Fields drove into the protesters, he had gone into the room where Donald was resting at Bedminster after a round of golf and said ‘Sir, you have got to wake up. This has escalated, and we have to deal with it.’ While the entire nation was glued to their TVs, outraged and terrified by what they were seeing, desperate for the strong hand of leadership, the president was napping.”
She speculates that drinking eight Diet Cokes a day for 15 years has taken a toll on Trump’s physical health.
“I believe that Donald Trump is physically ill,” Manigault Newman writes. “His terrible health habits have caught up with him. His refusal to exercise (except golf). His addiction to Big Macs and fried chicken. His daily tanning bed sessions (he prefers to do it in the morning so he 'looks good' all day). Donald might brag about his superior genes, but even they can’t stand up to what he puts his body through.”
As the book draws to a close, Newman reflects on more recent events, including the uproar over first lady Melania Trump wearing a jacket with the slogan “I really don’t care. Do U?” for a flight to visit an immigrant children’s shelter.
“It’s my opinion that Melania was forced to go to the border that day in June, essentially, to mop up her husband’s mess,” Manigault Newman theorizes. “She wore that jacket to hurt Trump, setting off a controversy that he would have to fix, prolonging the conversation about the administration’s insensitivity, ruining the trip itself, and trying to make sure that no one asked her to do something like that again.”
“Melania is counting every minute until he is out of office and she can divorce him,” she writes, adding that the first lady sleeps in a separate room from the president who only has “his tanning bed for company.”
There is already reason to be skeptical that “Unhinged” is completely accurate. Large chunks of the book reference a long-rumored, never-verified tape of Trump using the N-word on the set of “The Apprentice.” In a recent NPR interview, Newman said she heard it first hand. But that’s not what is written in the book, which says she was only told about its existence.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said on Friday that the book “is riddled with lies and false accusations,” in response to a story from The Washington Post detailing a section in which Manigault Newman claimed she was offered a $15,000-per-month contract to remain quiet after being fired from her job.
The Daily Beast reported that Manigualt Newman had used secret recordings of the president while shopping her book but that they did not reveal anything particularly salacious.
The White House outcast is set to appear on “Meet the Press,” on Sunday morning, in a continued attempt to keep the book in the spotlight.