If we’ve learned anything in the last week while watching The Real White Housewives, it’s never cross Omarosa Manigault-Newman. Not only is the former White House staffer and official ex-fluffer of the executive pillows on a whirlwind book tour, but she’s dropping a new mixtape after every appearance. Omarosa did her best Beyoncé by releasing her latest single, “Katrina Pierson, You Ain’t Got to Lie to Kick It” late Monday evening.
The tapes release comes after Pierson, a spokesperson for Trump, appeared on Fox News on Monday and claimed that there had never been a call between black Trump aides on how to handle fallout from Trump’s reported use of the N-word during his time on The Apprentice.
Pierson told host Ed Henry “No, Ed. That did not happen. Sounds like she is writing a script for a movie,” CBS News reports.
Welp, Pierson is going to learn today. Tah-day! CBS News received copy of Omarosa’s latest release, “Oh, Word?” In her new book, Unhinged,Omarosa claimed the Trump campaign was aware of the existence of the tape in which Trump reportedly dropped the N-bomb. Pierson claims that a powwow never happened. On the audio, Omarosa, Pierson, Lynne Patton (then-assistant to Eric Trump), and campaign communications director Jason Miller can all be heard discussing how to handle the potential fallout.
Although The Root has been unable to confirm the authenticity of the tape, it’s either Pierson stating the most damaging bits or it’s a black woman code- switching with a clothes pin over her nose.
“I am trying to find at least what context it was used in to help us maybe try to figure out a way to spin it,” a woman’s voice can be heard saying. It’s believed that woman is Pierson
Patton can be heard recounting a conversation that she had with then-candidate Trump about using the N-word.
Patton: “I said, ‘Well, sir, can you think of anytime where this happened?’ And he said, ‘no.’”
Omarosa: “Well, that is not true.”
Patton: “He goes, how do you think I should handle it and I told him exactly what you just said, Omarosa, which is well, it depends on what scenario you are talking about. And he said, well, why don’t you just go ahead and put it to bed.”
Pierson: “He said. No, he said it. He is embarrassed by it.”
So now we’ll wait to see what story Pierson comes up with next. Maybe she will say that scientist have found no distinct difference between her voice and Stacey Dash, and therefore, how do we know it’s not Dash on the recording? Maybe, she will admit to taking Ambien, which we all know can have some crazy GOP side effects. Maybe she will point out that Omarosa has been wearing a lot of yellow during her interviews and yellow is the color of the Illuminati. Who knows? What I do know is Omarosa is fucking shit up for the president and I’m here for it.
POTUS says former White House staffer @Omarosa lied when she called him a racist who has said the N-word on tape. But a new recording, obtained by @CBSNews overnight, seems to back up Omarosa's story that several Trump advisers discussed an alleged tape during the 2016 campaign. pic.twitter.com/tV3R6P2TvE
— CBS This Morning (@CBSThisMorning) August 14, 2018
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Tuesday refused to definitively rule out the possibility that President Trump has used the N-word, but repeatedly pointed out the president has denied uttering the racial slur.
“I can’t guarantee anything,” Sanders said when asked if she can assure that the public will never hear a recording of Trump saying the racial slur.
Sanders said she has not “been in every single room” but added that “the president addressed this question directly” and that she has “never heard him say it.”
The remarkable exchange came after former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman wrote in her new tell-all book “Unhinged” that there are tapes of Trump saying the racial slur on the set of his old reality show, “The Apprentice.”
Trump denied that claim in a Monday night tweet, saying an “Apprentice” producer called him “to say that there are NO TAPES of the Apprentice where I used such a terrible and disgusting word as attributed by Wacky and Deranged Omarosa.”
Manigault Newman’s book has caused a major headache for the White House, and Trump has spent the past several days publicly denying her claims and attacking her credibility. The president escalated those attacks on Tuesday morning, calling her a “lowlife” and a “dog.”
“The president is certainly voicing his frustration with the fact that this person has shown a complete lack of integrity,” Sanders said when asked about the tenor of Trump’s rhetoric.
She also denied that his scorched-earth approach is motivated by Manigault Newman’s race. Before her ouster, she was the highest-ranking African-American in the West Wing.
“The president is an equal-opportunity person who calls things like he sees it,” she said, adding that he will always “fight fire with fire.”
Even though Trump and his staff have spent several days pushing back on the book, Sanders blamed the news media for the amount of attention the book is receiving.
“The individuals in this room continue to create a large platform for somebody they know does not have a lot of credibility,” she said.
Trump’s campaign has filed for arbitration against Manigault Newman, claiming she violated a nondisclosure agreement with the publication of “Unhinged: An Insider’s Account of the Trump White House.”
“I’ve never heard him use that term or anything similar" but “I can't guarantee” that President Trump hasn't used the n-word, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders says pic.twitter.com/nyBWLCeCgj
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) August 14, 2018
Donald Trump has escalated a bitter row with his former aide Omarosa Manigault Newman, praising his chief of staff, John Kelly, for “quickly firing that dog”.
Manigault Newman, a former adviser to the US president and contestant on the reality TV show The Apprentice, has released three secret recordingsrelated to her firing as she promotes her memoir, Unhinged.
Her TV appearances, and her claim to have heard a tape of Trump using the N-word and other racial slurs during filming for The Apprentice, have annoyed the president, who levelled another barrage of attacks at her on Tuesday, tweeting: “When you give a crazed, crying lowlife a break, and give her a job at the White House, I guess it just didn’t work out. Good work by General Kelly for quickly firing that dog!”
On Tuesday morning, Manigault Newman revealed on CBS News a third tape that she says records a 2016 conference call among Trump campaign aides who are discussing how to address potential fallout from the release of tapes that allegedly show Trump using the N-word.
The campaign aides had previously denied that any such conversations took place.
On Monday, Trump denied claims of racism and said Manigault Newman was a liar for claiming he used the N-word: “I don’t have that word in my vocabulary and never have. She made it up.”
When Kelly fired Manigault Newman in December in the White House situation room, she secretly taped it, in an apparent breach of security protocol.
In the recording, which she played on NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday, Kelly told Manigault Newman the firing was the result of “significant integrity issues” and that she could face damage to her reputation if she did not make it a “friendly departure”.
On Monday, Manigault Newman released another recording in which Trump appeared to express surprise that she had been fired. “Omarosa? Omarosa, what’s going on? I just saw on the news that you’re thinking about leaving? What happened?” Trump says on the tape, played on NBC’s Today show.
In a later interview on Monday, Manigault Newman said she “absolutely” had more tapes in her possession and warned that there were more to come.
The controversy has raised questions about whether she could face legal repercussions for recording in the situation room.
Defending her actions, Manigault Newman said the recordings were necessary in a White House “where everybody lies”.
Trump’s scathing attack on Manigault Newman is the latest in a string of insults directed at prominent African American people. This month, Trump questioned the intelligence of the basketball star LeBron James, who had criticised the president in an interview with CNN’s Don Lemon. Trump called Lemon the “dumbest man on television”.
Days earlier, Trump said the black California congresswoman Maxine Waters, a Democrat, had a “very low IQ”.
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson is taking new steps to roll back an Obama-era rule intended to combat housing segregation.
On Monday, the Trump administration formally began the process of revamping a 2015 rule that required cities and towns to examine historic patterns of segregation and create plans to combat it, or lose federal funding.
The administration argued that the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule hinders the development of affordable housing.
The current rule is “suffocating investment in some of our most distressed neighborhoods that need our investment the most,” Carson said in a statement. “We do not have to abandon communities in need.”
Sara Pratt, a former Obama official who helped develop the rule, said that the Trump administration’s moves would enable communities to ignore long-standing barriers to fair housing and integration.
“You’re going back to communities willfully blinding themselves to patterns of segregation,” said Pratt, whose law firm is representing a coalition of groups suing the Trump administration for its earlier efforts to suspend the rule. “Without this rule, communities will not do the work to eliminate discrimination and segregation.”
Conservatives had vocally opposed the original rule by arguing that it was “an attempt to extort communities into giving up control of local zoning decisions,” according to Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz.. Despite Carson’s stated interest in using federal funds to shape local zoning policies, they praised the Trump administration for taking the next big step in undoing the original rule.
“Secretary Carson’s work to rollback Obama’s overreaching housing rule is a great step in the right direction,” Gosar said in a statement. “I look forward to seeing HUD completely rescind the utopian Obama regulation.”
President Donald Trump called Attorney General Jeff Sessions “scared stiff and Missing in Action” on Saturday in his latest broadside on Twitter against the nation’s top law enforcement officer.
The attack on the attorney general came as Trump claimed the news media “refuses to report” on meetings held between Christopher Steele, the ex-British intelligence officer who authored an opposition research dossier on Trump, and former Associate Deputy Attorney General Bruce Ohr.
Ohr was demoted from his position in the deputy attorney general’s office after the discovery of certain meetings he held with Steele and the head of the opposition research firm that hired him to compile the dossier, Fusion GPS founder Glenn Simpson, CNN reported last year, citing a source familiar with the matter. Ohr’s wife, Nellie Ohr, worked for Fusion GPS doing research and analysis on Trump, Simpson has disclosed.
“The big story that the Fake News Media refuses to report is lowlife Christopher Steele’s many meetings with Deputy A.G. Bruce Ohr and his beautiful wife, Nelly. It was Fusion GPS that hired Steele to write the phony & discredited Dossier, paid for by Crooked Hillary & the DNC….,” Trump wrote on Saturday.
White House Counselor Kellyanne Conway took some shots at the media over their coverage of her boss, President Donald Trump.
Appearing on The Ingraham Angle Thursday night, Conway began by defending Trump supporters as they were “looked down upon” by folks like Hillary Clinton and former President Barack Obama, invoking their past rhetoric dismissing Middle America as “deplorables” and those who “cling” to God and guns.
“I’m not sure if they care anymore,” Conway told Laura Ingraham. “I speak to these people all the time. You know what they care about? They care they have a president who respects and takes action daily for the military, for the veterans, and for them.”
She then blasted the press for their reaction to the hostile rhetoric coming from the White House.
“A lot of these journalists have very expensive seven-figure contracts, go on late night TV where they can yuk it up with somebody equally situated, where they can just laugh all day long, particularly about the women in the Trump administration,” Conway continued. “And then they can go and give speeches — I mean, they speak for free every single day, and have a country doesn’t want to listen to them. And then somebody pays them a lot of money to give speeches, so they are raking it in.”
Conway added that Trump’s assertion that “nobody has been better for the media than him” is correct, citing the revenues and “popularity” of some of these journalists.
When President Trump derides the media as the enemy of the people — as he’s doing more frequently — he’s not just spouting off his momentary frustration. He’s stating official White House policy.
The White House just made that abundantly clear. Four times in two days, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was offered the opportunity by reporters to clarify whether the president really thinks journalists are the enemy of Americans, or that it’s wrong for people to harass journalists doing their job. It wouldn’t be the first time an official White House statement contradicted something the president said or tweeted.
But four times in two days, Sanders refused to say that the media is not the enemy of the people or to condemn people who heckled a CNN reporter Tuesday in Tampa, to the point where he feared someone was going to get hurt.
Just a sample of the sad scene we faced at the Trump rally in Tampa. I’m very worried that the hostility whipped up by Trump and some in conservative media will result in somebody getting hurt. We should not treat our fellow Americans this way. The press is not the enemy. pic.twitter.com/IhSRw5Ui3R
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) August 1, 2018
Instead, the White House press secretary ticked off a list of sometimes-inaccurate and sometimes-unrelated grievances about how these hyperpartisan times have affected her life and the president’s life, and why they blame journalists for that.
“The media continues to ratchet up the verbal assault against the president and everyone in his administration,” Sanders said.
Basically: The White House thinks that journalists are the enemy of the people.
I don’t need to get into here why this is a problem; that’s Democracy 101.
But it’s worth spending a moment on where we are, both because having this debate in the first place is not normal and because it is shaping up to be a front line in the political battle between right and left in 2018.
In a week full of tension between journalists and Trump and Trump supporters, the most heady moment so far came Thursday, when the journalist at the center of so many attacks from the right (including from the president himself), CNN’s Jim Acosta, twice asked Sanders if she would say that the media is not the enemy of the people.
He was following up on an earlier question in the briefing about how Ivanka Trump said she doesn’t agree with her father that the press is the country’s enemy. Trump later tried to square her statement with his own by claiming he doesn’t think all media is the enemy, just most of it.
“… [I]t would be a good thing if you were to say right here at this briefing that the press — the people who are gathered in this room right now, doing their jobs every day, asking questions of the people like the ones you brought forward earlier — are not the enemy of the people,” Acosta said. “I think we deserve that.”
Instead, Sanders looked down at her notes and appeared to read a prepared statement about her perceived grievances with the media; how, among other things, she was cruelly made fun of by a comedian at the 2018 White House Correspondents’ Association dinner. (The association said Michelle Wolf’s performance “was not in the spirit” of the mission of promoting the free press.)
I mention Sanders reading from her notes because it’s a telling detail that she had something ready to go on this. It suggests she knew that she was going to be asked about Trump’s views on the media, she had talked about it with the president, and they decided not to back down, even on the basic question of whether the media contributes a public good to U.S. democracy.
Not that her response was a surprise. On Wednesday, a reporter asked Sanders if she would condemn the heckling of Acosta at Trump’s rally. The president tweeted the heckling to his 53.5 million followers.
Rather than denounce what happened to Acosta, Sanders used that opportunity to rip the media. She didn’t help her contention when she seized on a debunked story about the hunt for Osama bin Laden.
Acosta tried again. His question is worth sharing in full because it felt like a moment that may stand out in the dozens of daily contentious moments between the Trump White House and journalists:
You did not say in the course of your remarks you just made that the press is not the enemy of the people. Are we to take it from what you just said — we all get put through the ringer, we all get put in the meat grinder in this town, and you’re no exception. I’m sorry that happened to you; I wish that would not have happened — but for the sake of this room, the people who are in this room, this democracy, this country, all the people around the world who are watching, what are you saying Sarah, and the White House for the United States of America, the president of the United States should not refer to us as the enemy of the American people. His own daughter acknowledged that and all I’m asking you to do, Sarah, is to acknowledge that right now and right here.
Sanders did not take him up on that: “I appreciate your passion, I share it. I addressed this question, I addressed my personal feelings. I’m here to speak on behalf of the president. He’s made his comments clear.”
Acosta walked out of the press briefing before it was over. He was downright exasperated.
I walked out of the end of that briefing because I am totally saddened by what just happened. Sarah Sanders was repeatedly given a chance to say the press is not the enemy and she wouldn't do it. Shameful.
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) August 2, 2018
Bashing the media to gain leverage with one’s supporters is a tactic as old as American politics. But Trump has taken it to new heights by using language that dictators of history also have seize on. He’s exploited heavy public skepticism in journalism to cast journalists as the main villains when things go wrong in his administration. As The Fix’s Eugene Scott wrote after a man gunned down journalists at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis in June:
Those disinclined to trust the media get reinforcement when highly influential politicians and partisan media figures elevate the critiques, sometimes making personal jabs at journalists’ motives and their character. What may start as a difference of opinion eventually becomes a direct assault on the humanity of those in the media — something that those following press freedom issues have witnessed in other parts of the world.
A sitting Republican senator, Jeff Flake (Ariz.), started out 2018 by comparing Trump to Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin over his attacks on the media.
At the same time, there is less room for journalists to make mistakes now that Trump has made them a central character in his own political story. On Wednesday a Politico reporter apologized for calling the Trump supporters cursing out Acosta “garbage people.” His apology made national headlines.
None of this is fading anytime soon. It’s a safe bet things are only going to get worse between journalists and the White House and some of Trump’s supporters before — if — they get better. What that will do to journalism, to politics, to democracy is an open, even scary question.
President Donald Trump’s appointees in the health department have deleted positive references to Obamacare, altered a report that undermined the administration’s positions on refugees and added anti-abortion language to the strategic plan — part of an ideological overhaul of the agency’s research office.
While every administration puts its imprint on the executive branch and promotes ideas that advance its own agenda, this one has ventured several steps further — from scrubbing links to climate change studies from an Environmental Protection Agency website to canceling an Interior Department study on coal mining risks and suppressing reports on water contaminationand the dangers of formaldehyde.
Inside the Health and Human Services policy research shop, staffers say the political pressures to tailor facts to fit Trump’s message have been unprecedented.
Several pointed to embarrassments such as PolitiFact grading a lawmaker’s statement, based on the agency’s May 2017 report on Obamacare premium hikes, as “false,” and concluding the study had serious methodological problems.
Another report suggesting that millions more people would get health coverage if Obamacare were rolled back — a finding at odds with nearly every independent analysis — was widely mocked and produced over the objections of career staff at the office of the assistant secretary for planning and evaluation, known as ASPE, say several sources.
“The heartbreaking part is that ASPE is the source of the evidence and the science for how decisions are made,” said a former senior official, who worked under both Republican and Democratic administrations. “It’s just another example of how we’re moving to a post-fact era.”
The office has been especially vulnerable to political pressure because its leadership remains in flux. The University of Minnesota health economist tapped to lead the office by Trump has been dogged by questions about his financial entanglements, leaving his nomination in limbo for more than a year. The acting head of ASPE was recently reassigned to a regional office, and the top deputy altered McKinsey-produced data to make it more favorable to the Trump administration, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the changes.
“I find the attack on the integrity and the culture of the office to be disturbing,” said Richard Frank, a Harvard health economist who ran ASPE as an Obama administration political appointee. “This is really a departure to an office that has a 50-year history to it.”
HHS officials vigorously disputed portrayals of the office as ideologically driven.
“I reject the premise of your question and allegation,” said spokeswoman Caitlin Oakley. “Secretary [Alex] Azar has made very clear that HHS is a science- and evidence-based organization and it will operate accordingly.”
Oakley said the 120-person office has been refocused to work on Trump administration priorities like drug pricing and the opioid epidemic. Two staffers say those topics are regarded as safer ground because they are not part of the health care culture wars. Under Azar, who assumed leadership of the agency about six months ago — after most of these incidents occurred — the office has produced a six-page research brief on drug pricing, which published this week, and two studies on the opioid epidemic. Oakley said more reports are coming.
But the group’s morale and role remain diminished, as key staff and teams have dwindled; there are just three staffers working on analyzing health coverage, down from about a dozen at the end of the Obama administration, said a staffer.
Republican health policy analyst Lanhee Chen, who served as an HHS senior counselor in the George W. Bush administration, scoffed at the notion that this policy shop is more partisan than the one that preceded it.
“I don’t believe the Trump administration ASPE has put out reports that are any less analytically or methodologically rigorous than those of the Obama administration ASPE,” Chen said. “Those who express concerns regarding the quality of reports ‘falling off’ are probably using that argument as a cover for the fact that they disagree with the findings of the reports.”
Chen said he regards the policy shop as a vehicle to advance administration policy, “so in that sense, methodological rigor has not necessarily been a metric I have used to evaluate their reports. That’s why we have studies from academics and analysts outside of government.”
This story is drawn from interviews with nine individuals with knowledge of ASPE operations, most of whom asked for confidentiality to speak freely, as well as with outside observers.
Shift in office’s focus
ASPE historically has been used to investigate the impact of HHS policies and help shape future strategy, and under the Obama administration, it focused closely on the expansion of health insurance coverage and the Affordable Care Act — issues on which Barack Obama had campaigned heavily and made central to his presidency. The office published 43 reports on the ACA’s effects on rural hospitals, women’s health and other discrete corners of health care between January 2015 and January 2017 alone, generally extolling the effects and sometimes overlooking the drawbacks.
For instance, one 2016 study on choosing health plans in the ACA market was criticized for slanting its findings.
President Donald Trump has lost another top administration official as hard-liner’s consolidate their grip in the West Wing, Politico reported Friday.
Jennifer Arangio, a former senior director in the National Security Counsil, was “let go” and “escorted off the premises” according to Politico’s sources.
“We don’t comment on personnel,” a NSC spokesperson said.
Since John Bolton took over as National Security Advisor, the NSC has also seen the departures of chief of staff Keith Kellogg, homeland security advisor Tom Bossert, spokesman Michael Anton, and Middle East section officials Joel Rayburn and Michael Bell.
“The former White House official said Arangio’s just-the-facts approach put her at odds with top Trump aide Stephen Miller, an immigration hardliner, and others involved with the Domestic Policy Council, especially on the issue of refugees,” Politico reported. “Arangio also has had some friction with Mira Ricardel, Bolton’s hard-edged deputy, according to the former NSC official and the former White House official.”
“She has fought to correct misleading information about refugees and migrants provided to the president by Miller and the DPC,” the former White House official explained.