Bizarre claims from Omarosa Manigault-Newman’s new book Unhinged continue to make their way into the national political conversation. The former Donald Trump staffer claims to have been part of a behind-the-scenes operation at the White House that took wild turns at times — including, apparently, the president chewing up a piece of paper.
An excerpt from her still presently forthcoming book obtained by The Washington Post reads:
‘I saw him put a note in his mouth. Since Trump was ever the germaphobe, I was shocked he appeared to be chewing and swallowing the paper. It must have been something very, very sensitive.’
She claims to have witnessed this behavior following the president meeting with his now former lawyer Michael Cohen last year. Cohen and Trump’s relationship has come under intense scrutiny thanks in large part to a criminal investigation into Cohen — but the allegations of Trump eating paper are new. They fit in with other circulated claims Omarosa made of an obvious — to her — “mental decline” on the part of the president.
Although an unnamed White House official did confirm to The Post that Omarosa brought Cohen to Trump for a meeting — and was reprimanded for being out of line in so doing — no one seconded her account of the president chewing up paper. “[S]everal White House aides laughed at the assertion and said it was not true,” The Post reports.
That’s in line with the official response to Unhinged from the White House. Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders commented:
‘It’s sad that a disgruntled former White House employee is trying to profit off these false attacks, and even worse that the media would now give her a platform.’
Omarosa’s account does, ironically, at least somewhat correlate to accounts shared in POLITICO by two now former government workers earlier this year. Solomon Lartey and Reginald Young Jr. shared with the publication how, as records management staffers, they were tasked with taping shreds of papers Trump had ripped up back together. The papers were supposed to be preserved, but that didn’t stop the president.
To be clear, though, neither of them alleged that Trump had eaten any papers, as Omarosa did.
At least one of her claims has already been definitively disproved. She claimed to have heard about Republican strategist Frank Luntz claiming Trump to have used the n-word, but he says that never happened, adding that Omarosa never even tried to check up on the claim by getting in touch with him.
The whole debacle is reminiscent of that surrounding Michael Wolff’s book Fire and Fury that came out earlier this year. Wolff faced a number of criticisms for apparent inaccuracies, including a claim that behind the scenes Trump failed to remember who former GOP Speaker of the U.S. House John Boehner was. (Trump golfed with Boehner and spoke of him publicly several times during the campaign.)
No criticisms of apparent inaccuracies stopped the book from posing a massive public relations headache for the White House, though. In the fallout, Trump first made his infamous claim that he’s a “stable genius.”
Only time will tell exactly how successful Omarosa’s book is.
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