Omarosa Manigault, the former reality TV star turned White House adviser to President Donald Trump, said Thursday that she has a “good relationship” with the controversial Nation of Islam leader, Louis Farrakhan, and would “look forward” to a meeting with him.
"I think any of your audience would know that I’ve never shied away from having an open, and I believe a good, relationship with Louis Farrakhan,” Manigault said in a Thursday morning interview on Chicago talk-radio station WVON. “I would look forward to receiving that invitation and sitting down with him."
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Farrakhan has been the leader of the Nation of Islam since 1977, a group that the Southern Poverty Law Center describes as being based on a “somewhat bizarre and fundamentally anti-white theology.” Farrakhan himself is “an anti-Semite who routinely accuses Jews of manipulating the U.S. government and controlling the levers of world power,” according to the SPLC.
In March, 2016, Farrakhan praised Trump for being the only presidential candidate “who has stood in front of the Jewish community and said, ‘I don’t want your money.’” He cautioned at the time that he was not endorsing Trump but added that “I like what I’m looking at.”
More broadly, Manigault appealed during her interview to the black community to be more proactive in reaching out to the Trump administration writ large in order to advocate on its own behalf. She said that Trump has opted to gear his plans toward all Americans and not specifically to gear his policies toward African-Americans or any other community, but added that groups who have reached out to the White House have had some success.
As an example, Manigault pointed to White House meetings with the leaders of the Congressional Black Caucus, who brought with them a list of budgetary priorities. As a result of those meetings, Manigault said, next year’s White House budget will include funding for year-round Pell Grants, a top CBC priority. With a list of three other priorities in hand from the CBC, Manigault said “we took that document and we fought for those individual things.”
But more often than not, she said, African-American leaders have been critical of Trump without reaching out to the White House to make an effort at accomplishing their policy goals. She specifically mentioned the Rev. Al Sharpton and Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), as prominent leaders who have complained about the president without even trying to work with him. Manigault was a guest at Sharpton’s National Action Network’s annual convention last week, where audience members groaned during her remarks.
Manigault said her priorities as an assistant to the president and communications director for the office of public liaison include work with the nation’s historical black colleges and universities, fighting poverty, dealing with crime and aiding Haiti, the Western Hemisphere’s poorest nation. She said her work on behalf of the black community could be greatly aided with assistance from outside the White House.
“It’s not just about politics for me. You have to answer for everything that you do to God one day,” she said. “This, for me, is not politics. I get to see the impact of these policies on a daily basis. But I can’t fight by myself, y’all. And so the folks, the leadership have to come to the table and voice their concerns to be heard.”