As the new White House chief of staff John Kelly tries to cure the chaos that infected the West Wing, he identified Omarosa Manigault as “Patient Zero” for unfettered access to the president and has moved to limit her “poisonous influence.”
According to the Daily Beast, Omarosa, the former Apprentice co-star—who currently serves as the communications director for the Office of Public Liaison—has seen her direct access to the president limited since Kelly took the top White House job in late July.
Kelly “is not thrilled by any means by Manigault,” a West Wing official told The Daily Beast. “He is, however, thrilled that he has been able to stop staffers including Omarosa from bolting into the Oval Office and triggering the ‘thin-skinned’ president with White House intrigue stories.”
Of particular concern for Kelly were stories from conspiratorial right-wing websites that occasionally whipped Trump into a frenzy over issues such as the West Wing’s press leak problem. In Manigault’s case, sources said, the stories generally originated at more obscure, gossipy websites, and concerned White House palace intrigue, media personalities, or prominent Republicans in Congress.
Ever since Kelly instituted the new regime, Trump’s former reality-TV co-star’s capacity to influence her boss during the work day has taken a hit.
In particular, Kelly has taken steps to prevent her from getting unvetted news articles on the president’s Resolute desk—a key method for influencing the president’s thinking, and one that Manigualt used to rile up Trump about internal White House drama, multiple sources told the publication.
According to the sources, it was common practice for aides to slide into the Oval Office and distract and infuriate the president with pieces of negative news coverage. Omarosa, they say, was one of the worst offenders.
“When Gen. Kelly is talking about clamping down on access to the Oval, she’s patient zero,” a source close to the Trump administration said.
The stories Manigault would present to Trump, often on a phone or printed out, would often enrage the “weak-minded and thin-skinned” president, and resulted in him spending at least the rest of the day fuming about it.
Manigault earned a reputation within the White House for this kind of stuff, and, to many of her colleagues, it quickly overshadowed her comms duties and pro-Trump outreach to African-American audiences.
One White House source said that Manigault was the one who brought to President Trump’s attention several online articles concerning MSNBC hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski “blasting him, and his administration.”
This provoked the thin-skinned president, who exploded with a raging Twitter attack, saying, among other things, that Brzezinski “was bleeding badly from a face-lift.”
Manigault has also threatened people with supposed enemies lists. In one incident, she reportedly told a reporter that she was among several journalists on whom White House officials kept “dossiers” of dirt.
“It’s so great our enemies are making themselves clear so that when we get into the White House, we know where we stand,” she had previously told IJR at Trump’s election-night celebration. “Let me just tell you, Mr. Trump has a long memory and we’re keeping a list.”
Two sources told The Daily Beast that during the brief sting of Anthony Scaramucci in the White House, Manigault sent in a list of several people she thought Trump should fire. Her list reportedly included Scaramucci and several establishment Republicans. Reince Priebus was among the “RNC guys” on that list, according to one source with direct knowledge.