US & Canada

Omarosa Manigault Newman to leave White House next month

Trump and Omarosa Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Mrs Manigault Newman was earning a reported $179,700 a year

Omarosa Manigault Newman, one of US President Donald Trump's most vocal black supporters, is to quit.

A White House spokeswoman said Ms Manigault Newman was quitting the Office of Public Liaison to "pursue other opportunities".

"We wish her the best in future endeavours," said press secretary Sarah Sanders.

Mrs Manigault Newman was often referred to by viewers as the "villain" on Mr Trump's reality TV show the Apprentice.

Mrs Sanders added that Mrs Manigault Newman would depart on 20 January, one year after Mr Trump took office.

In a brief tweet, Mr Trump paid tribute to Mrs Manigault Newman.

Critics said Mrs Manigault Newman's role at the White House was vague and ill-defined, and that she seemed to spend more time planning her wedding than organising outreach.

During her tenure, she attracted controversy when she brought a 39-person wedding party to the White House for an impromptu photo shoot, according to Politico.

Cleaning house?

Analysis by Tara McKelvey, BBC News, Washington

Omarosa likes to hug people (even journalists).

She brings friends to the White House "mess", a West Wing restaurant run by the US Navy, and she likes to show visitors around the building.

Warm and engaging, she's also slightly unprofessional; she brought members of her bridal party to the White House for a photo shoot. Besides that she makes Apprentice jokes at White House events and sometimes leaves early (when the events are boring).

However you feel about her, one thing is true: the place won't be the same without her. That may be the point.

Chief of Staff John Kelly has been moving controversial figures out, trying to make the White House seem more staid.

Since he started, Steve Bannon, Sebastian Gorka and Anthony Scaramucci have all left. Some former advisers, such as James Schultz, who served as a special assistant, say rumours of "housecleaning" are untrue.

Schultz, who worked down the hall from Omarosa, says she just wants to return to the private sector.

"She's a tremendous salesperson," he points out.

Chances are you'll be hearing from her long after she's left the White House.

Over the summer, she caused uproar at an event for black journalists, when she paced on stage while arguing with the panel's moderator and refused to discuss her boss, President Trump.

In a 2004 interview with Playboy, Mr Trump described her as a liar.

He said he would not offer her a job reference, except if she was appearing on a soap opera.

But following his election to the White House, he appointed her to the Office of Public Liaison, where she earned a reported $179,700 (£134,000) a year.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Mr Trump with Mrs Manigault and Housing Secretary Ben Carson

This was not her first time working for a presidential administration.

After graduating from Washington DC's historically black Howard University, she worked for Vice-President Al Gore, before joining President Bill Clinton's personnel office, then the US Commerce Department.

She wrote a 2008 book The Bitch Switch, which was billed as "a step-by-step guide for locating your inner BITCH, personalising your switch, and knowing when to turn it on and when to turn it off".

In her book, Mrs Manigault Newman described her government supervisor as someone who "constantly sabotaged her efforts".

But a former Clinton official told People magazine Mrs Manigault Newman "was asked to leave as quickly as possible" and one member of staff "wanted to slug her".

More on this story