A former reality TV star turned Trump administration official is facing a public accusation that she threatened a longtime White House correspondent outside the office of Press Secretary Sean Spicer.
April Ryan, host of the White House Report, a national daily radio feature aired by American Urban Radio Networks, told the Washington Post that she was physically intimidated and verbally threatened by Omarosa Manigault, whom Trump named last month as director of communications for the White House Office of Public Liaison.
Manigault is a longtime associate of Trump and was previously a fixture on two of his reality TV shows, The Apprentice and Celebrity Apprentice. Following the election, Manigault generated a few headlines after she told reporters that Trump “has a long memory and we’re keeping a list,” referring to those who opposed his campaign and Republicans who chose not to endorse him.
Ryan claims that Manigault specifically referenced a “dossier” the White House had on her and other journalists during the confrontation. “She stood right in my face like she was going to hit me,” Ryan said. “She thought I would be bullied. I won’t be.”
Washington Post reporter Abby Phillip reportedly observed some of the incident; however, when the Post reached Manigault for comment, she replied: “My comment: Fake news!”
Manigault’s use of the phrase “fake news” comes days after President Bashar al-Assad of Syria used it to describe an exhaustive investigation into the torture and mass extermination of as many as 13,000 Syrian prisoners at Saydnaya Prison. Trump also regularly refers to legitimate news stories as fake news.
“It’s just ugly,” Ryan told the Post. “She’s trying to harm my integrity and my career. I’ve been [covering the White House] for 20 years. I plan to be here for the next 20 years. You don’t mess with someone’s livelihood.”
The White House did not respond to a request for comment. But asked at the press briefing about the allegation Trump staffers were amassing damaging information on journalists, Spicer, who has uttered a few falsehood from behind his podium, said this: “That is absolutely not true. There are no dossiers.”