Omarosa Manigault walked out of a breakfast meeting she had requested to attend last week after disputing the accuracy of a story written by a reporter in January, The Chicago Defender reports.
The breakfast was hosted by the National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA).
Manigault, who serves as President Trump’s director of communications for public liaison, had called the chair of the historic group the day before the Mar. 23 meeting and asked to attend, NNPA Chair Denise Rolark Barnes said.
It turns out that while Manigault praised African-American journalists for asking “the tough questions,” she reportedly didn’t take too kindly to being asked one herself.
Manigault allegedly became agitated after a reporter asked a question related to a story published under her byline on Jan. 8. The story, written for the Trice Edney News Wire, quoted civil rights lawyer Barbara Arnwine as saying Manigault promised the first interview with Trump to NNPA President, Benjamin Chavis, during a meeting with Black leaders on Jan. 4.
Manigault admitted to promising an interview, but disputed the claim that the “first interview” would go to Chavis.
“It was to me a highlight. I had hoped that it really meant that African-American journalists were being repositioned into a higher priority for the incoming administration,” Arnwine said. “And I am surprised that this representation is unfortunately being dropped or not followed through. I was in the room and it was not said once. It was said twice.”
The meeting was off the record, so whether the Trump staff recorded it is unclear. Since then, some have speculated that Manigault meant that Chavis would be the first Black reporter to interview Trump, not the first journalist.
“Ben Chavis was never promised the first interview,” said Manigault. “He was promised an interview, but not the first. And I was very surprised because we’ve always had a great working relationship, Hazel, that you wrote such a dishonest story about a closed off the record meeting that I invited NNPA to to make sure that we had a great relationship, that we started early. I was really surprised that you made that a press story because that was inaccurate. And moreover, you weren’t in the room.”
At one point during the dispute, Manigault turned to Chavis and said, “he’s right here. The source is here.”