President Donald Trump appeared to be unaware that Omarosa Manigault Newman was fired by White House chief of staff John Kelly, according to an audio recording of a phone conversation aired on NBC’s “Today” Monday morning.
“Omarosa, what’s going on? I just saw in the news you’re thinking about leaving. What happened?” Trump is heard asking.
Manigault Newman, who was fired from her White House job last December replied, saying, “General Kelly – General Kelly came to me and said that you guys wanted me to leave.”
“No. Nobody even told me about it,” the President replied. “You know, they run a big operation but I didn’t know it. I didn’t know that. Damn it, I don’t love you leaving at all.”
NBC News aired the new audio but cautioned that the organization does not know what was said before or after the segment provided.
Trump responded Monday morning on Twitter, saying Omarosa “never made it, never will” and said she was “vicious, but not smart.”
“Wacky Omarosa, who got fired 3 times on the Apprentice, now got fired for the last time. She never made it, never will. She begged me for a job, tears in her eyes, I said Ok. People in the White House hated her. She was vicious, but not smart. I would rarely see her but heard….,” he tweeted.
“…really bad things. Nasty to people & would constantly miss meetings & work. When Gen. Kelly came on board he told me she was a loser & nothing but problems. I told him to try working it out, if possible, because she only said GREAT things about me - until she got fired!” Trump continued on Twitter.
Omarosa’s comments on Monday morning add to a series of shifting explanations for the circumstances surrounding her firing.
Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Manigault Newman said that Trump told her later that he “delegated” her termination.
“Are you convinced he did not know at that minute that you were being fired?” “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd asked.
“No, I know he knows,” Manigault Newman replied. “Because I’ve talked to him subsequently, and he said he delegated. ‘I delegated.’ So, he knew. He knew that John Kelly was going to take me into the Situation Room, and lock me in there, threaten me, and say that things were going to get ugly for me, and there would be damage to my reputation.”
After “Today” aired the new audio on Monday, Manigault Newman was asked if the President was lying about whether he knew about her termination.
“He probably instructed General Kelly to do it so that he could keep his hands clean when he spoke to me,” she replied. “I’m wondering, is he sincere? The other question is, is General Kelly running this country or is the President running this country?”
The audio was released as Manigault Newman gears up for the release of her new book, “Unhinged: An Insider Account of the Trump White House,” which contains several unflattering claims against the President and his staff. Omarosa claims to have multiple recordings of her time in the White House, but many of the claims she has made are unverifiable.
Early excerpts of her book have been denounced by White House officials, and the President this weekend called Manigault Newman a “low life.”
CNN’s Jeremy Diamond contributed to this report.