In the latest leaked audio recording by former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman, the president's daughter-in-law Lara Trump can be heard offering the former staffer a position on the reelection campaign for an annual salary of $180,000, with the expectation that she be "positive" and not speak about "things [she's] got in the back pocket to pull out."
Responding to the leak in a statement Thursday, Lara Trump called the tape a "fraud" and said her family offered Manigault Newman the position because they "cared so much about her personally," not for her agreement to stay silent about potentially embarrassing information.
Lara Trump also said the offer was made "before we knew anything about the [alleged] gross violations of ethics and integrity during her White House tenure" — which have not been detailed by the administration — and that "discussions about a position with the campaign took place in numerous phone calls over the course of several weeks."
On the clip, played on MSNBC Thursday, Lara Trump can be heard saying the following to Manigault Newman:
"It sounds a little like, obviously, that there are some things you've got in the back pocket to pull out. Clearly, if you come on board the campaign, like, we can't have — we got to... Everybody's positive, right?"
She then segues into discussing salary:
"So the only thing that we have to consider, where we're talking salary, as far as the campaign is concerned, is that, as you know, everything is public... And that all the money that we raise and that pays salaries is directly from donors. Small-donor dollars, for the most part. So I know you were making 179 at the White House, and I think we can work something out where we keep you right along those lines. Specifically, let me see, I haven't even added up the... But we were talking about, like, 15K a month. Let me see what that adds up to. Times 12. Yes, that's $180,000. Does that sound like a fair deal for you? In terms of your position, specifically, I really feel like your position would require, you know, you to be able to be flexible in terms of where you are. Sometimes, you know, come to New York for occasional meetings. But I would love, if you could, you know, occasionally go do speaking engagements and that sort of thing for us. I think you'd be awesome doing it, so it doesn't really matter where you are. If you're comfortable staying in DC, then, you know, you're, we're more than happy to have you."
Speaking to MSNBC, Manigault Newman said the implication was that the salary was a form of "hush money."
"She made it very clear if I joined this campaign, that I would have to be quiet," Manigault Newman said. "I wouldn't be allowed to talk to reporters. I wouldn't be allowed to say anything against Donald Trump. As she stated in her own words, I had to keep it 'positive.'"
Manigault Newman, who was fired from the White House in December over alleged ethics violations, said she saw the offer "as an attempt to buy [her] silence, to censor [her], and to pay [her] off with $15,000 per month by the campaign."
The recording was the latest in a series of tapes dropped by Manigault Newman, who is on a publicity tour for her new book, Unhinged. The book and recordings have prompted President Trump to lash out and degrade her on social media.
In the past week, the president has called Manigault Newman a "lowlife" and a "dog" on Twitter in response to her claims that a tape exists of him saying the n-word during an outtake of his former reality show, The Apprentice.
Here is Lara Trump's statement in full:
“From the beginning of my father-in-law’s campaign, Omarosa was welcomed into our family as a trusted friend and confidant. On the Women for Trump tour, including Omarosa, we formed a sisterhood bond that is unlike any I have experienced in my life. We toured together, laughed together, and worked really hard towards a common goal. We never would have imagined that one of our own was secretly recording all of our private conversations.
When Omarosa was fired by the White House Chief of Staff in December of 2017, my entire family was concerned for her because we had no idea about the basis of her dismissal. We still wanted her on our team because we cared so much about her personally. That’s why I reached out to offer her a position with the 2020 Trump Campaign before we knew anything about the gross violations of ethics and integrity during her White House tenure. Another one of Omarosa’s ‘bombshell’ tapes is a fraud. The discussions about a position with the campaign took place in numerous phone calls over the course of several weeks.
Woman to woman, I shared a connection with Omarosa as a friend and a campaign sister, and I am absolutely shocked and saddened by her betrayal and violation on a deeply personal level.
I hope it’s all worth it for you, Omarosa, because some things you just can’t put a price on.”