John Kelly meets with black Republicans after Omarosa Manigault Newman departure
Posted December 19, 2017 12:59 p.m. EST
WASHINGTON (CNN) — President Donald Trump's chief of staff John Kelly told black Republicans recently that the White House is looking to hire "talented young men and women" after it was announced that Omarosa Manigault Newman, one of the few African-Americans to hold a senior position in the West Wing, was leaving.
"I met with them just for a few minutes and said we are looking for talented young men and women of any age that would be willing to come and serve the country for some period of time. I didn't say African-Americans, I didn't say Hispanics," Kelly told reporters Tuesday.
He added that the administration wants to hire talented people regardless of their ethnicity, and told the Republicans that "if you know people who are looking towards something that is very fulfilling, we're looking for really good people."
Manigault Newman was one of Trump's most high-profile African-American supporters on the 2016 campaign trail, but her departure, according to two sources close to the President, had been a long time coming. She joined the Trump White House as the top communications official at the White House Office of Public Liaison, but when Kelly became the chief of staff in July, her role began to feel ill-defined, the sources said.
"People have long been unsure what she did at the White House," the former official said, adding that people inside the White House had been openly wondering "what value she brought" to the operation.
Manigault Newman said in an interview with ABC's "Good Morning America" that she had observed things in the White House that made her uncomfortable.
"There were a lot of things that I observed during the last year that I was very unhappy with, that I was very uncomfortable with," she said. "I'm not going to expand on it because I still have to go back and work with these individuals, but when I have a chance to tell my story ... quite a story to tell as the only African-American woman in this White House as a senior staff and assistant to the President."
"I have seen things that made me uncomfortable, that have upset me, that have affected me deeply and emotionally, that has affected my community and my people," she added. "And when I can tell my story, it is a profound story that I know the world will want to hear."
"Thank you Omarosa for your service! I wish you continued success," Trump tweeted after it was reported that she was leaving.