Reality TV villainess turned chirpy Donald Trump proselyte Omarosa Onee Manigault checked back in with The Hollywood Reporter this morning to tell us what it was like being up-close-and-personal with Trump and family for his historic presidential win last night. It was a victory she'd foretold in late September, telling THR, "Donald J. Trump will be the 45th president of the United States. Without a doubt." Now the victory lap is here.
Good morning, Omarosa. I imagine you are feeling pretty good today.
It was a remarkable night. To find ourselves in a situation where we were neck and neck, just trying to the very end to find a path to victory, it was remarkable. At no point were we behind her in electoral votes. This is a great moment for the country.
What did you think of his speech?
To be honest, I have to rewatch it. I was literally just standing next to him on the stage and just bawling. I don't remember a word he said. We were live on air. I just remember Mr. Trump saying to me, "Are you ready? Are you ready to come with me to Washington?!"
You were the director of African-American outreach on the campaign. Did he mention to you what kind of appointment you will be getting?
No. There was no discussion of titles or positions or appointments. The next few months there is a lot of catching up to do. I'm getting married in six months.
I noticed you made some headlines again recently, this time for alluding to Trump's "enemies list." [Manigault told Independent Journal Review, "It's so great our enemies are making themselves clear so that when we get in to the White House, we know where we stand."]
My quote was very clear. I was referring specifically to Sen. Lindsey Graham. Donald Trump won't soon forget how Graham failed to fight with him to achieve his vision and ultimately his betrayal. How could Graham squander this opportunity and not support an effort to make the country great again? Then he announced his vote [for independent candidate Evan McMullin] for president. Just throwing it in Mr. Trump's face. Pretty brazen. You don't forget that.
On a scale of 1 to 10, how surprised were you that Trump won?
Look, we knew we were in an uphill battle. President Obama called Hillary Clinton "the most qualified candidate in history." Plus she had just so much access to donor organizations. It was difficult. But worth it. And when the map finally read 270 - boy did I breathe a sigh of relief.
What was his temperament like on election night, up close?
I was so proud of him. I got to see him before he left the war room. We all met in the freight elevator of the hotel. He was so not focused on himself. He got all his family business sorted. He addressed his supporters. He was still in Trump mode! Just a business man in the private sector, rattling off a list of things that needed to get done that night.
A lot of people are sad and fearful of what a Trump presidency might mean for the country. Can you allay any of those concerns?
Let me just say that the person who won is indeed the best one for the job. He will always put American first. Look, I understand their concerns. I know what it's like to be on the losing end of a campaign, having worked for Gore/Lieberman in 2000. But the one thing I can assure you, putting aside our differences, is that America is his priority.
What about people worried that they will be deported?
If you come into this country illegally, via Obama's "pathways to citizenship," they still have this administration to hold accountable. What Mr. Trump is interested in is making sure laws of this land are adhered to.
Back in the Frontline interview, you got a lot of press for saying people will have to bow down to Trump. Who do you think he'd most like to see bow down?
Donald Trump has done something not many people can do. He beat 16 primary challengers and Hillary Clinton. That's 17 people. And he's never held office. He has been subjected to the kinds of attacks that not even seasoned politicians are subjected to. The evidence is right there in the WikiLeaks emails: That the Democratic party colluded to take out Bernie Sanders. That they colluded against Donald Trump. That they harmed people. So many detractors, working in collusion to conspire to undermine this Trump train. And so now it's time for them to tip their hats to him.
What about these endorsement from hate groups like the Klu Klux Klan and David Duke?
Well which are you speaking of? Because the KKK, which numbers fewer than 2,000, has endorsed both candidates. Google it. But you never hear about its endorsement of Clinton. The mainstream media only picks up on the Trump endorsement.
And what of all this talk of of the media? I work in the media. I find a Trump presidency to be of personal concern. We should want to encourage a free and open press.
Look at how the media colluded with the Clinton campaign. Working with her, getting stories approved, giving certain journalists special treatment. It goes against the tenets of good journalism.
So Donald Trump is not a threat to free press?
He would never. He always made himself accessible to the press. He never put limits on his media interviews. Meanwhile, Clinton refused to do interviews for hundreds of days.
But he withdrew the Washington Post's media credential to attend his rallies.
If they're lying, they can't come to private events. They can cover public events all they like.