The former Apprentice star reportedly walked out of a National Newspaper Publishers Association meeting after a reporter asked her a “tough question.” The Afro reports that during the March 23 breakfast meeting, which Omarosa asked the Chair of the group to attend, the former reality show contestant stormed out of the room, shocking many present. The NNPA is a 77-year old organization with a membership of over 200 Back newspapers.
Reports say that Manigault became agitated after the reporter asked her about reneging on Trump’s promised “first interview” with NNPA President Benjamin Chavis. The promise was supposed to have taken place during a January 4 off-the-official-record meeting at the American Enterprise Institute. However, Manigault said she promised “an interview” not “the first.”
After Edney asked her question, Omarosa defensively responded, “Ben Chavis was never promised the first interview. 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 [published Jan. 8] about a closed off the record meeting that I invited NNPA 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.”
She added, “We’ve been working for months because we have that kind of relationship…We had been working very closely to make sure that NNPA was on the front row and at the forefront of what happened. Your article did more damage to NNPA and their relationship with the White House because it’s not just me. So you attack me, they circle the wagons. So you can keep attacking me and they will continue to circle the wagons, but that does not advance the agenda of what NNPA is doing. I’m going to continue to work with Ben Chavis, who I adore, to make sure that we do what we said we were going to do. Interestingly enough, we were just talking about this privately over here. And so, if you want to make another headline or do another story about it, I think that is really not professional journalism.”
After this exchange,Trump’s director of communications for public liaison abruptly walked out a little more than ten minutes after arriving. NNPA chair Denise Rolark Barnes said of the incident, “That was totally unnecessarily. She doesn’t start a conversation saying ask the ‘tough questions’ and then run away from the tough questions. I almost feel as if we were baited…I expected a different presentation from her, which would have led us into asking a different set of questions about the issues she was going to raise and not get into this personal confrontation with a journalist. So, I’m disappointed that she didn’t – in my opinion—come in and speak on the President’s and on the administrations’ behalf about things that are important to this administration that the Black Press should be focusing on. That didn’t happen. It was a lost opportunity for the President. And it was definitely a waste of time for NNPA.”
Omarosa has yet to further respond on the matter.