Before it hit shelves, plenty of people have questioned the veracity of the new tell-all book by former Trump aide Omarosa Manigault Newman.
Manigault Newman, who got her big break as a contender on Trump’s canceled TV show, The Apprentice, has, in the words of the New York magazine’s Jonathan Chait “met a wall of skepticism bordering on reflexive disbelief.”
That goes double for the more outlandish claims in the book, such as the claim that Trump brought a tanning bed into the White House, an episode where Trump allegedly ate a piece of paper after a meeting and Trump’s purported racist comments aimed at Kellyanne Conway’s half-Filipino husband.
Trump has responded by calling his former aide a “lowlife.”
In a new column, Chait goes out on a limb in defending the savvy of Manigault Newman.
“Manigault Newman may indeed have the goods,” he writes. “Or, at least, some of the goods. And she is playing her hand in a clever way that appears designed to maximize her leverage.”
Specifically, by saying that she taped conversations, Manigault Newman holds her would-be attackers at bay.
“Current and former Trump staffers don’t know what conversations Manigault Newman recorded,” he writes. “Therefore, they can’t publicly deny any charge they know to be true, or even suspect might be true, for fear that she can release audio proving them to be liars (and enhancing her own credibility in the process.)”
Chait points to the a Politico story in which White House staffers say they are unwilling to take her on.
“Ultimately, the credibility of her accusations will rest primarily on what she can produce on audio tape,” he writes. “The recordings might be damning, or they might not. In the meantime, she seems to have maneuvered her former colleagues into a highly uncomfortable spot.”
Read the full column here.