On Thursday, former Trump campaign and Trump administration aide Omarosa Manigault Newman released a secret recording of a phone call with Lara Trump. The two discuss Manigault Newman possibly joining the Trump campaign shortly after she was fired from the White House late last year.
In the call, Lara Trump offers Manigault Newman a $180,000 salary — roughly the same amount she made in the White House — if she joins the campaign. Trump makes clear that her salary would be paid for by Trump campaign donors.
“All the money that we raise and that pays salaries is directly from donors, small-dollar donors for the most part,” she says, before going on to add that the role she envisioned for Manigault Newman would involve her “occasionally” doing “speaking engagements and that sort of thing for us.”
Manigault Newman claims the Trump campaign was basically offering her $15,000 a month in exchange for her silence. On the tape, Lara Trump refers to a New York Times article that ran shortly before their call in which Manigault Newman promised she’d soon have more to say about her time in the White House, and warns her that her role with the campaign would require her to remain positive about Trump.
“Listen, obviously, with the New York Times article and stuff, you know… it sounds a little like, obviously, that there are some things you’ve got in the back pocket to pull out,” Lara Trump says. “Clearly, if you come on board with the campaign, like, we can’t have, we got to… everything, everybody, positive, right?”
Here’s the full tape, which was played on MSNBC Thursday afternoon:
After MSNBC played audio of the call, the Trump campaign got busy trying to spin it as somehow reflecting positively upon their operation. Their efforts did not go well.
In a statement, Lara Trump explained that “my entire family” felt compelled to offer Manigault Newman a donor-funded $180,000 job with the campaign because “we cared so much about her personally,” even though they had no idea why she was fired from the White House. This week, Trump claimed he brought Omarosa to the White House simply because she begged for a job, and refrained from firing her earlier only because she “said GREAT things about me.”
In her statement, Lara Trump admits she “reached out to offer [Manigault Newman] a position with the 2020 Trump Campaign before we knew anything about the gross violations of ethics and integrity during her White House tenure,” before going on to bizarrely describe the tape as “a fraud.”
Given the content of Manigault Newman’s recording, Lara Trump ends her statement on an exceedingly ironic note.
“I hope it’s all worth it for you, Omarosa, because some things you just can’t put a price on,” she wrote.
Meanwhile, Trump 2020 campaign director Brad Parscale tried to spin the recording as somehow reflecting the campaign’s fiscal discipline.
“Latest tape from Omarosa shows how much Trump family cares about pocketbooks of our donors when @LaraLeaTrump warns about all campaign $$ coming from average Americans,” Parscale tweeted. “Lara says the right thing protecting our donors and helping people understand we are powered by the people!”
Latest tape from Omarosa shows how much Trump family cares about pocketbooks of our donors when @LaraLeaTrump warns about all campaign $$ coming from average Americans. Lara says the right thing protecting our donors and helping people understand we are powered by the people!
— Brad Parscale (@parscale) August 16, 2018
President Trump responded to the recording of his daughter-in-law offering Manigault Newman $180,000 to say nice things about him by retweeting a video posted by the Republican Party of Manigault Newman saying nice things about him, as though those comments discredit her.
Thank you for the kind words Omarosa! https://t.co/PMmNG6iIsi
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 16, 2018
Trump’s latest tweet about Manigault Newman was tame in comparison to what he posted on Tuesday, when he responded to her release of a October 2016 recording of what seems to be top Trump campaign officials strategizing about how to spin a tape of Trump using the N-word by calling her a “dog” and a “crazed, lying lowlife.”
According to Vanity Fair, Trump is so upset with Manigault Newman that he “told advisers that he wants Attorney General Jeff Sessions to have Manigault Newman arrested, according to one Republican briefed on the conversations. (It’s unclear what law Trump believes she broke.)”
The Washington Examiner reported earlier this week that the Trump campaign has filed for arbitration against Manigault Newman seeking millions of dollars because she allegedly violated a nondisclosure agreement she signed to work for Trump’s 2016 campaign.
Other Trump campaign officials have appeared throughout the week on cable news network to defend Trump’s reputation — but two of them were forced to admit on air that their own NDAs legally prohibit them from saying anything but nice things about Trump.