The Trump campaign filed a legal claim Tuesday against former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman over her new book, seeking damages for violating a written agreement not to disparage President Trump, while the president responded fiercely to her accusations of racism and called her a “dog.”
The campaign’s lawyers filed for arbitration against Ms. Manigault Newman with the American Arbitration Association in New York City to force her to abide by the 2016 agreement with the campaign, in which she was required to keep information about Mr. Trump and his family secret “during the term of your service and at all times thereafter.”
“President Trump is well known for giving people opportunities to advance in their careers and lives over the decades, but wrong is wrong, and a direct violation of an agreement must be addressed and the violator must be held accountable,” a campaign official said.
Ms. Manigault Newman said she believes the action was intended to keep her from telling her story and vowed not to be “intimidated.”
Non-disclosure agreements aren’t unusual in the private sector; Mr. Trump was known to have relied on them extensively as the head of the Trump Organization. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said such agreements also are “common” in government, particularly for employees with a security clearance.
But some analysts say such agreements are largely unenforceable in government work.
The legal action came amid an increasingly bitter war of words between Mr. Trump and his former co-star of “The Apprentice,” who served one year in the White House as the president’s highest-paid black assistant.
Ms. Manigault Newman kept up a steady stream of TV interviews Tuesday to promote her newly released book “Unhinged,” accusing Mr. Trump of racism and unspecified corruption, even alleging that the president knew in advance that Wikileaks would release emails hacked from Hillary Clinton and other Democrats in the 2016 election.
The president’s referring to a black woman as a “dog” provoked more accusations of racism from people such as Rep. Frederica Wilson, a Florida Democrat who has clashed previously with the White House.
“Everything that comes out of that White House is racist,” Ms. Wilson said on CNN.
Mrs. Sanders said the president doesn’t pull punches just because the target of his ire happens to black.
“The fact is the president’s an equal-opportunity person that calls things like he sees it,” she said. “He always fights fire with fire and he certainly doesn’t hold back on doing that across the board.”
Ms. Manigault Newman claims that Mr. Trump was once caught on an audio tape uttering the N-word, although neither she nor anyone else has produced such a tape. Mr. Trump tweeted, “I don’t have that word in my vocabulary, and never have. She made it up.”
“This has absolutely nothing to do with race and everything to do with the president calling out someone’s lack of integrity,” she said.
“This is a president who is fighting for all Americans, who is putting policies in place that help all Americans, particularly African-Americans,” she said. “This president, since he took office, in the year-and-a-half that he’s been here has created 700,000 new jobs for African-Americans. When President Obama left after eight years in office … he had only created 195,000 jobs for African-Americans. President Trump in his first year and a half has already tripled what President Obama did in eight years.”
The president’s spokeswoman blamed the media for giving “a large platform for somebody they know not to have a lot of credibility” after ignoring Ms. Manigault Newman while she worked for the White House.
“It wasn’t until this individual started to negatively attack this president and this administration and try to tear this entire place down that she received the type of platform and roll out that she’s getting,” Mrs. Sanders said.
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