Omarosa book: Trump disparaged ‘Ditzy Devos’

Toluse Olorunnipa

President Donald Trump dubbed his education secretary “Ditzy DeVos,” used an obscenity to describe his own son and disparaged Harriet Tubman’s looks, according to former White House aide Omarosa Manigault-Newman.

In her new book, “Unhinged: An Insider’s Account of the Trump White House,” Manigault-Newman divulged a litany of private remarks she claims Trump made during the first year of his administration. Some are backed up with audio recordings.

Trump regularly mocked Education Secretary Betsy DeVos behind her back as “ditzy,” Manigault-Newman wrote.

In a passage, Manigault-Newman described accompanying DeVos to a graduation ceremony at Bethune-Cookman University, a historically black school in Florida, where the education secretary was "loudly booed by the entire audience," she wrote.

Later, DeVos reportedly told her the students "don't have the capacity to understand what we're trying to accomplish," which Manigault-Newman believed meant "all those black students were too stupid to understand her agenda," according to the book.

After Manigault-Newman detailed DeVos' performance to Trump, she claims the president promised he would "get rid of her" but never did. 

"I can tell you, after a year of sitting in those meetings and observing her, that she's woefully inadequate and not equipped for her job," Manigault-Newman wrote. "She is just as horrible as you suspect she is. ... She does not care about your children. Be afraid. Be very, very afraid." 

Manigault-Newman also alleges DeVos tried to stop a planned White House summit on historically black schools, ended a contract with the conference hotel, which "cost the US government $75,000 in cancellation fees," and initially refused to deliver opening remarks until, through Trump's intervention, the head of Cabinet affairs forced her, she wrote.

Criticizing the secretary's plans to "replace public education with for-public schools," Manigault-Newman wrote: "It's about profit. She's so fixated on her agenda, she can't give any consideration to building our public schools, providing financing for them, particularly their infrastructure needs. Schools are shutting down in depressed neighborhoods all over the country to be replaced with for-profit schools, eliminating neighborhood cultural centers, forcing kids to travel great distances, with little proof that only charter schools provide a better education."

Reached for comment Tuesday, Education Department spokeswoman Elizabeth Hill said: "This disgraced former White House employee is peddling lies for profit. The book is a joke, as are the false claims she’s making about Secretary DeVos."

The book also alleges that Trump denigrated the looks of Tubman, the former slave and widely revered abolitionist whom President Barack Obama planned to honor on the $20 bill.

“You want to put that face on the twenty-dollar bill?” Trump is quoted as saying.

Manigault-Newman wrote that she had provided the president with a briefing book describing how Tubman had helped free hundreds of slaves. The briefing book, which included an image of Tubman, came after Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had declined to commit that the Trump administration would stick to Obama’s plan to replace Andrew Jackson with Tubman on the $20 bill.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters Tuesday that Manigault-Newman had made up “outrageous claims” and “cares more about herself than this country.”

“This person has shown a complete lack of integrity, particularly by the actions following her time here at the White House,” she said. “She worked here for a year, and didn’t have any of these things to say —  in fact, everything she said was quite the opposite.”

Manigault-Newman has backed up some of her claims in the books with audio tapes. She has said that she is able to corroborate all of the quotes in the book. The White House has not disputed the authenticity of recordings she’s released so far.

“Every single thing in this book, I have verified and documented,” she said on MSNBC on Tuesday.

Manigault-Newman also claims that Trump considered being sworn into office with his book “The Art of The Deal” rather than a Bible, which by tradition previous presidents used for their inaugural oaths.

“It’s the greatest business book of all time,” Trump said, according to Manigault-Newman. “It’s how I’m going to make great deals for the country. Just think how many copies I’d sell — maybe a commemorative inauguration copy?”

Manigault-Newman writes that she convinced Trump not to pursue the idea, and to never mention it to anyone else. Trump later tried to convince her that he was kidding but she believes he was serious at the time, she wrote.

Throughout the book, Manigault-Newman accuses Trump of racism and sexism, while arguing that his mental capabilities have begun to deteriorate. She writes that Trump drinks eight cans of Diet Coke each day and spends his mornings laying in a tanning bed that has been installed at the White House.

“He is such a f**kup. He screwed up again, but this time he’s screwing us all, big-time,” Manigault-Newman quotes the president saying of his son, Donald Trump Jr., over revelations that he met with Russians at Trump Tower to get political dirt on Hillary Clinton during the 2016 campaign.

The president has attacked Manigault-Newman in recent days after excerpts from her book were disclosed.

“When you give a crazed, crying lowlife a break, and give her a job at the White House, I guess it just didn’t work out,” Trump said Tuesday in a tweet. “Good work by General Kelly for quickly firing that dog!”

Manigault-Newman, the former director of communications for the White House Office of Public Liaison, was fired last year by chief of staff John Kelly.

Trump’s campaign has accused Manigault-Newman of violating a nondisclosure agreement.

On MSNBC on Tuesday, Manigault-Newman said she was a whistleblower unveiling “corruption” within the Trump White House.

Detroit News Staff Writers Mark Hicks and Melissa Nann Burke contributed to this report.