Omarosa Manigault, a former contestant on President Donald Trump’s reality show “The Apprentice” who now works in the White House, reportedly intimidated a veteran White House reporter and said the Trump administration is keeping “dossiers” on her and other black journalists.
April Ryan, who has covered the last four presidents for American Urban Radio Networks, told The Washington Post on Monday that Manigault, a White House communications official, threatened her both verbally and physically.
“She stood right in my face like she was going to hit me,” Ryan told the Post. “I said, ‘You better back up.’ … She thought I would be bullied. I won’t be.”
White House press secretary Sean Spicer on Tuesday denied the charge that the administration is tracking reporters, but then awkwardly joked about it.
“That is absolutely not true,” he said at the White House press briefing. “There are no dossiers being kept — just a binder that I put right here. That’s about it.”
“That was a joke,” he added.
Ryan said the altercation took place near Spicer’s office last week, in front of several witnesses, including Post reporter Abby Phillip. Phillip said that Ryan told her after the incident that it could have warranted Secret Service intervention.
Manigault dismissed the story in an email to the Post, writing that it was “fake news!”
Ryan said that last fall, Manigault, with whom she used to be friends, questioned whether she was “a paid Clinton surrogate.”
Manigault has previously claimed that Trump’s team was “keeping a list” of his “enemies,” referring to Republicans who had opposed Trump during his campaign.
“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,” she told The Independent Journal Review at Trump’s victory party in November. “But let me just tell you, Mr. Trump has a long memory, and we’re keeping a list.”
CLARIFICATION: An earlier version of this post said that Washington Post reporter Abby Phillip confirmed April Ryan’s account to The Post. Phillip did not confirm exactly what was said.