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The Omarosa mystery: Accounts of departure differ

Omarosa Manigault Newman and President Trump in better days.
Omarosa Manigault Newman and President Trump in better days.(Alex Wong/Getty Images/file)

Various accounts have been written of fervent Trump backer Omarosa Manigault Newman’s departure from the White House — and some of the details are intriguing. Only one thing is clear: Somehow, for some reason, Newman, the Trump adviser who first gained fame with Trump on “The Apprentice,” is leaving the White House reality show.

■  Here’s the basic outline: Newman, one of President Trump’s most prominent African-American supporters, was escorted off the White House grounds Tuesday night after resigning her post as a presidential adviser, two White House officials who spoke on condition of anonymity told The Associated Press.

■  Newman was told it was “time to go” by John Kelly, Trump’s chief of staff. She reacted with curse words and said she wanted to speak to the president. She tried to get into the White House residential quarters, but was stopped by the Secret Service and escorted off the grounds, said April Ryan, White House correspondent and Washington bureau chief for American Urban Radio Networks, in the most dramatic account of Newman’s departure.

■  Reports of Newman being hauled off the White House grounds were overstated, three administration officials told The New York Times, though one did say she was escorted off the premises. While she will be paid through Jan. 20, the one-year anniversary of Trump’s inauguration, she is not expected to return to work. The Times said she was not well liked by some Trump advisers, including Kelly; questions had been raised about her work; and there was a “precipitating event,” but it didn’t say exactly what that was.

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■  Kelly, a retired Marine general who has been trying to bring more discipline to the White House, had grown frustrated with Newman. Sources of friction included a personal wedding photo shoot in the West Wing in the spring, the Washington Post reported, citing an administration offficial.

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■  The Secret Service said it was not involved in the “termination” of Newman or “the escort off of the complex.” But it did say it had deactivated her pass.

■  Newman made a round of television appearances Thursday, telling her side of the story. She said on ABC-TV’s “Good Morning America” that she had resigned after speaking to Kelly in a “candid conversation” in the White House Situation Room. She said it was “a very straightforward discussion about concerns that I had, issues that I raised and, as a result, I resigned.” She said that in her time at the White House there “were a lot of things that I observed during the last year that I was very unhappy with.”

■  “Omarosa Manigault Newman resigned yesterday to pursue other opportunities. Her departure will not be effective until January 20, 2018. We wish her the best in future endeavors and are grateful for her service,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders told the press corps.

■  President Trump posted a cheery tweet on Wednesday night, wishing her success.

Responding to a shouted question from reporters on Thursday, Trump said, “I like Omarosa. Omarosa’s a good person.”