Omarosa Manigault, the director of communications for the White House’s Office of Public Liaison, engaged in a contentious exchange Friday during an appearance at the National Association of Black Journalists’ convention in New Orleans.
Manigault, a controversial former “Apprentice” star, was reportedly invited to speak on a panel concerning police brutality.
At one point during the panel, the moderator, Bounce TV’s Ed Gordon, played a recording of Trump appearing to advocate for police misconduct, telling officers to not be “too nice” to those they arrest.
When asked about the comments, which inflamed civil-rights activists and led to criticism from police departments around the country, Manigault refused to “defend every single word and decision” Trump makes.
“I’m not going to stand here and defend everything about Donald Trump,” Manigault said, according to BuzzFeed reporter Adrian Carrasquillo.
Manigault acknowledged being one of the only senior black officials in the White House and said that it’s her “responsibility” to bring stakeholders in the black community into policy discussions, Carrasquillo reported.
“Omarosa says issues of black community are brought up in admin because she is there,” Carrasquillo tweeted.
When asked how she is working with the Department of Justice on policing issues, Manigault responded, “Google me,” New York Times reporter Yamiche Alcindor tweeted. She also reportedly said, “I don’t work at the Justice Department — it’s not even part of my portfolio.”
Manigualt’s invitation to speak, which was made after two panel members pulled out unexpectedly, was highly controversial.
“The majority there don’t want her involved. It’s heavy drama — even the moderator is refusing. Everyone sees it as extremely offensive,” an unnamed source told the New York Post.
During the panel, several audience members stood and turned their backs to the stage in protest.
A Howard University student, Maya King, tweeted a video of Manigault and Gordon on their feet arguing with each other on stage, adding that the two were “giving every single journalist in this room what they came for — drama.”
“I’ll see y’all at the White House Christmas party in December,” Gordon reportedly said as Omarosa walked out of the room.
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