MSNBC host Chris Matthews could barely contain his excitement as he interviewed Omarosa Manigault Newman, former Trump White House staffer, during Monday night’s edition of Hardball. Newman, the author of a new book called Unhinged, received the red carpet treatment as Matthews effectively gave a ten-minute long advertisement for her book; which paints a very negative picture of the Trump administration and President Trump himself.
Newman first entered the national spotlight during the first season of the reality series, The Apprentice, at a time when very few people thought its host, Donald Trump, would ever become President of the United States. Newman appeared as a contestant on the first installment of The Celebrity Apprentice and later on the All-Star Celebrity Apprentice. During all three of her tenures on The Apprentice, she quickly developed a reputation as the reality TV star America loves to hate.
Talking to Matthews, Newman accused President Trump of calling her a “lowlife” because of her skin color, saying “this is what he does when it comes to African-Americans.” She later added, “He thinks that we’re all stupid.” These comments come not longer after Newman alleged that President Trump “wants to start a race war” during a recent interview with TMZ.
Eventually, the conversation turned to Newman’s dismissal from the White House, which allegedly took place in “the President’s conference room in the situation room.” Matthews praised Newman for “boldfacedly” walking into the Situation Room with a recording device, asking her “how did you pull it off?” Matthews also could not have been happier to give her a platform to bash the President; he proudly held up her book, saying “I don’t mind showing it off. We sell books here.”
When Newman said that the White House offered her a non-disclosure agreement, Matthews said “that sounds like Watergate.” He also asked Newman if she would “be a good witness” for the Mueller investigation and if she thought President Trump was going to be impeached. She responded to both questions in the affirmative, much to Matthews’ delight.
Matthews has clearly not had this much excitement since he declared that he felt a “thrill” going up his leg during a speech by then-Presidential candidate Barack Obama following a series of primary elections during the 2008 Presidential election season.
A transcript is below. Click "expand" to read more.
Hardball With Chris Matthews
CHRIS MATTHEWS: Good evening. I’m Chris Matthews in Washington. Tonight, the American Presidency is under siege, not by an opposition political party or a crusading newspaper but by a well-known former White House aide. Against her there now manning the ramparts, President Trump’s administration has been littered with leaks, allegations and record-setting turnover. Omarosa Manigault Newman, whose upcoming book “Unhinged” is set for release tomorrow, joins a growing list of former White House staffers who have documented their time during the Trump administration. In her book, she accuses the President of being a racist and a misogynist who’s also in a state of mental decline right now. In it, she writes that during her time at the White House she felt a “growing realization that Donald Trump was indeed a racist, a bigot, and a misogynist.” In response to those allegations, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders issued the following statement. “Instead of telling the truth about all the good President Trump and his administration are doing to make America safe and prosperous, this book is riddled with lies and false accusations.” Well, let’s find out what Omarosa Manigault Newman knows that we don’t about Donald J. Trump. Welcome, Omarosa. Thank you for coming on tonight.
NEWMAN: Thank you for having me.
MATTHEWS: I’ve been following this story and all the interviews you’ve done. So I want to get some stories that just, questions get to me. You seem to have suspected when you heard that Donald Trump had used the N word, had made racially derogatory things back when he was filming in fact the first year of The Apprentice. What made you think they might be true?
NEWMAN: Well, I didn’t discover it until the fall of the campaign in 2016, when a producer, Bill Pruitt, came out and he tweeted that Donald Trump had said some very horrible things including some racist things and some things about Jewish people. And that was the first time we became aware of it on the campaign, and in fact we had a meeting, Jason Miller, Len Patton and Katrina Campins, we had a conference call and we talked about what we would do. In fact, Katrina Pierson said that she thought he actually said it. That was his campaign spokesperson.
MATTHEWS: Did you, when you first heard that story by Bill Pruitt and the others and the confirmation by her, did you go “oh, is that the guy I know?” What was your sort of emotional reaction to that as an African-American woman?
NEWMAN: My first reaction to it was, it was just, this can’t be true, this is somebody I’ve known since 2003, he had always been kind to me, as I said repeatedly in dozens and dozens of interviews. And so when I heard it my first instinct was to protect him and not to dive deeper because I just dismissed it as untrue.
MATTHEWS: Well, you did eventually dive deeper even after publication of your book you went out and you actually heard the tape.
NEWMAN: I did.
MATTHEWS: When you heard the tape, did you get a sense that the person…I know you don’t want to give away the source. That the person who has the tape, a copy of it, is planning to use it at some point?
NEWMAN: Yes. In fact, I believe that they’re using it for politically motivated things. In fact, they may…
MATTHEWS: Before November?
NEWMAN: Before November. Another October surprise.
MATTHEWS: Are they Democrats?
NEWMAN: I don’t know what their political…
MATTHEWS: You don’t know. You don’t know whether they’re moderate Republicans or…
NEWMAN: They used to be a part of the production staff for The Apprentice. And they saw it on…took it on themselves to actually document this so that they could actually expose him for the racist that he is.
MATTHEWS: They have a copies, you said, of the tape.
NEWMAN: They do, of the audio.
MATTHEWS: When you listen to the parts you heard, how many times did you hear Mr. Trump, your former boss, how many times did you hear him use the N word?
NEWMAN: Multiple times. And what’s upsetting…
MATTHEWS: Multiple, you mean five, ten? It was three minutes.
NEWMAN: Multiple times. And what’s upsetting about it is it was about someone that was on the cast with me, about Kwame Jackson, who was the African-American contestant, male contestant on the first…
MATTHEWS: It was about him.
NEWMAN: …Season of The Apprentice.
MATTHEWS: From Detroit.
NEWMAN: And that’s why it was so disturbing…
MATTHEWS: Was it kind of derogatory…sort of, the stuff…some of it, I’m older than you. I grew up with some of the bad stuff. Was it like derogatory references to him as an African-American, this is stereotypical commentary? How would you describe it?
NEWMAN: It sounded as if he used it every day. It rolled off his mouth kind of like when you first heard the Access Hollywood tape. You would never imagine he talked that way. It just kind of rolled off of his tongue. But what’s more disturbing…
MATTHEWS: Well, how did you…That’s amazing that you heard that.
NEWMAN: It’s amazing that for two years these folks have been trying reach out to me and I guess I was in denial. I certainly didn’t want to engage with people who I thought was trying to bring Trump down. And after, you know, I closed the book I had an opportunity to go out there and to meet with him. And he’s terrified. But he also thinks that he’s doing a good service to save this country from a President who clearly doesn’t care about African-Americans.
MATTHEWS: When do you think they’ll drop this tape publicly?
NEWMAN: I have no idea. And I am not involved with the drop of this tape. I just had an opportunity to verify that it was in fact Donald Trump on the tape using these derogatory terms.
MATTHEWS: Did you hear any anti-Semitic, any anti-Jewish community comments?
NEWMAN: You know, Bill Pruitt said that those things were included in the tape. The tape that I heard had quite a few things that he said. I didn’t hear the anti-Semitic thing.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about the, about the birtherism. That was a big issue with me on this show.
NEWMAN: That was.
MATTHEWS: You know, in your book you write “During boardroom outtakes from The Apprentice, Donald Trump would talk about Obama often. He hated him. He never explained why, but now I believe it was because Obama was black.” And back in 2011, when he first flirted with a Presidential run Donald Trump embraced and promoted the right-wing conspiracy theory that President Obama was not born in the U.S. Let’s watch that in action.
PRESIDENT TRUMP: If he has a birth certificate, he should release it.
TRUMP: All I want to do is see this guy’s birth certificate.
TRUMP: If he weren’t lying, why wouldn’t he just solve it? And I wish he would. Because if he doesn’t it’s one of the greatest scams in the history of politics and in the history, period.
TRUMP: Our current President came out of nowhere, came out of nowhere. In fact, I’ll go a step further. The people that went to school with him they don’t even know, they never saw him. They don’t know who he is. Crazy.
MATTHEWS: Omarosa, in your book Unhinged, which is coming out tomorrow, you called him on this. What did he say…again, as an African woman and he’s looking at you. And he’s and you said to him, what did you say to him about this birther thing?
NEWMAN: Well, the first thing he said was that the Hillary Clinton people started the birther movement, Omarosa, you’re so naive. They started it. This is who started it. And then he said it was just political, he was just going after him because it was political, not because of his race. But I don’t believe that to be true. And one of the things...
MATTHEWS: At the time did you believe it?
NEWMAN: At the time he said it was politically motivated, it’s not personal and he started making these assertions that Hillary Clinton started it. And I just kind of stepped back. I wanted to see in fact if they started the birther movement. I took it all kind of at face value. But now that I know what I know about him, he was certainly going after him because of his race.
MATTHEWS: George Wallace…what bugs me about what you said, I do disagree with one thing. When a politician uses race negatively, he’s a racist. And you say you…did you accept the idea it was just politics, he was playing numbers?
NEWMAN: I wanted to give him the benefit of the doubt. Like I said, I had a blind spot for Donald Trump. But he continued it in a very, very derogatory way and as I’ve saying today, just having him call me out of my name, calling me a lowlife, say that I’m unintelligent, this is what he do, this is what he does when it comes to African-Americans.
MATTHEWS: Maxine, Maxine Waters, he did the same thing to her. Low I.Q. He gets very specific about it.
NEWMAN: Absolutely. Particularly with African-Americans. He think that we’re all stupid.
MATTHEWS: Do you think he believes that?
NEWMAN: I think so.
MATTHEWS: Let me ask you about the birther thing because I’m curious about that. One day, right before the general election, he just dropped it; a tactical retreat.
NEWMAN: I was there.
MATTHEWS: And do you believe he dropped it permanently or…because we heard stories, we hear stories he still plays with it once in a while. He still picks at it. That Obama was born in Indonesia or he was born in Kenya. These absurd ideas that a white woman from Kansas would purposefully go over to Africa or Indonesia, have the kid, come back, have it, phonily falsely recorded in Honolulu newspapers that the baby’s born, then name the kid Hussein Obama. You know, I mean, it’s just, you know, Barack Hussein Obama. It’s insane.
NEWMAN: It is.
MATTHEWS: And nobody who isn’t a racist would make a claim like that. That’s what I believe.
NEWMAN: In “Unhinged,” I describe the event you’re talking about at Trump Hotel where he had all these veterans come and then he says Barack Obama was born in the U.S., that’s it. And he felt that he put the birther movement to bed.
MATTHEWS: Is he to bed with it?
NEWMAN: No. But behind the scenes they were forcing him to say that. And he didn’t want to. He did it very, very begrudgingly.
MATTHEWS: Do you think he’s going to use it again?
NEWMAN: Probably. I just want him to come out and say he never said it. Multiple news reporters…
MATTHEWS: You think he’ll lie?
NEWMAN: I think he’ll lie. And if he does, he’ll be embarrassed because the tape will come out to show exactly what he said.
MATTHEWS: Let’s talk about what happened to you. Somewhere along the lines, I think he betrayed his relationship with you, Trump. He dropped his support for you or something. How did you end up in the Situation Room with General Kelly with the door locked and you’re basically almost being guillotined, like you’re going to get fired so fast and run out of there so fast you can’t say a word. What do you make of that?
NEWMAN: He also said that things could get ugly for me and there would be damage to my reputation. He took me…
MATTHEWS: General Kelly did.
NEWMAN: General Kelly.
MATTHEWS: What did he mean?
NEWMAN: He meant that if I didn’t go along with…
MATTHEWS: If you didn’t walk out the door at that moment…
NEWMAN: No, no, no, that if I didn’t go along with what they were saying I would resign and stay on until the 20th and then ultimately sign this $15,000 a month agreement with the Trump campaign to stay silent, they wanted to buy my silence, if I didn’t go along with that things would get ugly for me and there would be damage to my reputation. He took me in the situation room, which was very unusual so that…
MATTHEWS: Which room was that? Was this the Osama Bin Laden room?
NEWMAN: It was the President’s conference room in the Situation room.
MATTHEWS: It wasn’t the room where we watched Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden…
NEWMAN: No, not the small one. That’s the smaller one on the lower level. This was the President’s…
MATTHEWS: How did you know the door was locked behind you because that’s creepy? How did that happen?
NEWMAN: Well, you can’t enter the situation room without them allowing you access and you can’t exit without them allowing you to exit. And they told me four times…
MATTHEWS: How do you know you couldn’t get out of the room?
NEWMAN: Because I had been in there. I had gone in there when we had this hurricane…
MATTHEWS: Do you hear a click?
NEWMAN: You do. It’s a very ominous place. But it’s supposed to be the most secure place. So why would he take me in there?
MATTHEWS: So that’s the question, what’s the answer?
NEWMAN: I asked him if I could leave. They told me four times I couldn’t leave. He wanted to intimidate me, he wanted to put fear in me and he didn’t want anyone to know what they were doing to me in that room.
MATTHEWS: Do you think that…Somebody said to me today that he thinks knowing the geography of the White House they took you down to the basement to the Sit Room so that you wouldn’t be near the President and you couldn’t just bolt…as a friend of the President, you felt you were a friend of the President. They said oh, my, if we did this in the Chief of Staff’s office which is right near the Oval Office she’ll just walk two doors down and talk to Trump. Did you have a sense they sequestered you down there on purpose?
NEWMAN: Oh, he did that on purpose. He not only wanted to have me isolated. He wanted me to be afraid. And he was effective at that. I was very afraid.
MATTHEWS: But you weren’t afraid because you went in there just like you’re here and you boldfacedly walked in with a recording device. How did you get past the electronic sensors that can pick up on a recording machine in the Situation Room? How did you pull it off?
NEWMAN: You know, Chris, because of the threats from the President and his legal team I’m going to not share that information.
MATTHEWS: You didn’t have a pen or something like that?
NEWMAN: I will tell you that I’m so glad that I did it because no one, no one would believe me if I didn’t have that recording that General Kelly said that he runs the White House and not the President, he’s in control, the staff answers to him and not the President. No one would believe that he would say that, that Donald trump is being puppeted.
MATTHEWS: When you got, my mind’s jumping around here. There’s so much at work here. It took hours. But, you know, when you were listening to that tape finally after you published “Unhinged…” After you published…I don’t mind showing it off. We sell books here. You go out and you’re listening to the tape and you finally get to hear him say this awful racially derogatory stuff, multiple times, in this three minutes you listened to. Did you ever try to retape that? Did you bring a tape recording with you?
MATTHEWS: Why didn’t you…
NEWMAN: It was very specific to put it, put headphones on. But I immediately called Lara and Eric. That’s Eric’s wife. To share what I’d learned. And we had those conversations. I actually had those conversations with her. Where I shared with her…
MATTHEWS: Who’s this?
NEWMAN: Lara Trump. I called her to tell her what I heard and what was happening. And they weren’t, she wasn’t surprised. She was just kind of in damage control mode.
MATTHEWS: Let’s talk about this non-disclosure thing. The only thing I know about non-disclosure is you’re a public employee, you’re paid by the United States government, the idea of non-disclosure would only be if you made a separate I guess a contract, and I don’t think you could ever be required to sign a contract as a public employee. What is this about the Trump people saying they’ve got a non-disclosure signed by you?
NEWMAN: Not by me. In fact, they presented me this NDA. They brought it to my office. They refused to allow me to…
MATTHEWS: What was your…what would you get out of that?
NEWMAN: The moment they said I couldn’t show it to my attorneys I knew that it was unethical.
MATTHEWS: But what was, what would you get out of signing something like that?
NEWMAN: It was because Donald Trump was tired of the leaks and he thought that if he had these agreements that he could fear…put fear in people and they would stop leaking. But it didn’t stop the leakers.
MATTHEWS: He offered you…I did the math. 12 times 15,000. He offered you $185,000 a year for a no-show job basically.
NEWMAN: That’s right. They told me I could work from home, I didn’t have to come in if I didn’t want, just take $15,000 a month.
MATTHEWS: How can they talk like that where it sounds like a direct hush money, it sounds like Watergate…
NEWMAN: That’s exactly what it is.
MATTHEWS: They’re hushing you up for a lot of money. That’s a lot of money. That’s more than a Senator makes. It is.
NEWMAN: Chris, there’s a lot of people who signed these agreements. Sean Spicer signed one.
MATTHEWS: How do you know he did?
NEWMAN: He signed one with the America First because they offered me a job….I could choose between the RNC, America First or the Trump campaign.
MATTHEWS: Where was the hush cash coming from?
NEWMAN: Well, in the Trump campaign, it comes from donations; which is illegal. In America First, it also comes from donations. RNC, I’m not really sure where that money comes from. But they have Keith Schiller, the President’s bodyguard on a retainer for $15,000 a month.
MATTHEWS: To remind people out there that work for a living, that’s 185k a year.
NEWMAN: That’s a lot. I’m not saying it’s not a lot of money. It’s just unusual that Trump’s former bodyguard is on the payroll.
MATTHEWS: I asked you before a couple hours ago, Omarosa, if you have any other recordings. You wouldn’t share them here. Do you got some?
NEWMAN: Oh, I have plenty.
MATTHEWS: Anything Mueller would like to see, Robert Mueller?
NEWMAN: If he, if his office calls again if they want…
MATTHEWS: Would you be a good witness in this investigation by Mueller?
NEWMAN: Absolutely. Anything that they want I will certainly, certainly cooperate.
MATTHEWS: Do you think Trump’s going to be impeached?
NEWMAN: At this point yes.
MATTHEWS: Okay. Thank you very much, Omarosa.
NEWMAN: Thank you.
MATTHEWS: And the book is, I don’t mind saying it, she came here to sell it, “Unhinged.” In fact, it’s actually Unhinged in the title. Omarosa, thank you for coming on.