One of Donald Trump’s closest aides has claimed to reveal the president’s secrets. And there are plenty.
Much of Unhinged, by Omarosa Manigault Newman, consists of attacks on the physical and mental health of the president. But it also includes other allegations and comments on his life, from the personal to the very broadly political.
Omarosa served as Trump’s friend and aide for years – a relationship that began on The Apprentice. It carried on into the White House, where she worked as the president’s diversity advisor and saw some of the most intimate workings of the Trump administration.
It is those details that run throughout the book. Much of it is unsubstantiated, potentially baseless and distinctly inflammatory – and whether or not it is true, the book has prompted several wild cries of outrage on Donald Trump’s Twitter account, where he has called its author a “dog”, a “crying lowlife” and plenty more besides.
Here are some of those explosive allegations that have drawn such angry reactions from the president.
There is a horrifying recording of Donald Trump
The most troubling and shattering revelation of the entire book is Omarosa’s claims about the so called “N-word tape”. This recording – which she alleges exists, and includes audio of Mr Trump using the racial slur – comes right at the very end.
She makes reference to the tape throughout. But right at the close she says that she called someone about the tape – and was told about it.
“On this phone conversation, I was told exactly what Donald Trump said – yes, the N-word and others in a classic Trump-goes-nuclear rant – and when he’d said them.
“During production he was miked, and there is definitely an audio track.
“For over a year I’d been so afraid of hearing the specifics from someone who’d been in the room. Hearing the truth freed me from that fear. And only now that it’s gone, do I realise just how heavy it’s been.”
She does not name the person who told her, nor does she say why the tape has not yet been released. But it is an allegation that is now rumbling under everything Trump does nonetheless.
Trump might have something wrong with his mental health, she claims
Omarosa progresses through a series of speculation about the president’s mental health. Clearly, they are entirely speculative, mostly unsourced and might be entirely false – but they are part of the reason the two have now fallen out so publicly.
At one point she says outright that there is something wrong with him.
“I seriously began to suspect that the president was delusional or had a mental condition, that made him forget from one day to the next. Was Donald like Ronald Reagan, impaired while everyone around him ran the show and covered up for him? Was Mike Pence his Nancy Reagan, with the same vapid, adoring looks?”
Speaking about the interview Mr Trump gave in May 2017, soon after the firing of FBI director James Comey, in which he attempted to justify that decision, Omarosa speaks about how the president “rambled”, ”spoke gibberish” and “contradicted himself from one sentence to the next”.
That leads her to probably the most telling revelation of the entire book.
“While watching that interview, I realised that something real and serious was going on in Donald’s brain,” she writes. “His mental decline could not be denied. Many in the White House didn’t notice it as keenly as I did because I knew him way back when. They thought Trump was being Trump, off the cuff. But I knew something wasn’t right.
“But what could I do? Declare a state of mental emergency for Donald J Trump?” she continues. She lists the possible people she could speak to and finds that they either wouldn’t listen or had reason to ignore her.
And something might be physically wrong, too
Omarosa claims that Donald Trump is “physically ill”, and that the people around him are covering up that fact. That includes his doctors, who she says are instructed on what to say about him by the president himself.
“His terrible health habits have caught up with him,” she writes. “His refusal to exercise (except golf). His addiction to Big Macs and fried chicken. His daily tanning bed sessions (he prefers to do it in the morning, so he ‘looks good’ all day).”
She then goes on to list a whole other ways he has abused his own body: eating terribly, drinking Diet Coke (at least eight cans a day). She even suggests that the Coke consumption is destroying his brain – something she finds evidence for in a study that she claims to have tried to show to him.
Omarosa initially didn’t think Trump was racist
The distinction she makes repeatedly is that Trump was racial but not racist. That is, he used race to divide and exploit people, but he was not necessarily discriminatory. That’s what got her through The Apprentice and the friendship that followed, she says.
Eventually, after the pardoning of Sheriff Joe Arpaio, she changes her mind. (It’s worth noting this is many, many years into their relationship.) It’s a slow thing – and she doesn’t even see him as racist after this – but she gradually comes to the realisation.
The N-word story is far from the only racist outburst that Trump is accused of
Omarosa gives a bleak look at what she claims are Mr Trump’s views on race. At one point, she is talking about George Conway – husband of White House counsellor Kellyanne, and an outspoken and regular critic of his on Twitter.
“I was in the Oval with Donald and he picked up an article about George Conway’s counterpunch and ranted, ‘Would you look at this George Conway article? F**king FLIP! Disloyal! Fucking Goo-goo.’
“I was told later that ‘Goo-goo’ and ‘FLIP,’ an acronym for ‘f**king little island people,’ are racial slurs for Filipinos. George Conway is half Filipino. I had no idea what he meant when he’d said those words.”
Melania attacks her husband through her clothes
This is a conspiracy theory that has been endorsed by a number of people on social media – but is apparently endorsed, too, by Omarosa herself. Melania wears specific clothes to undo her husband: a “pussy bow” blouse after the Access Hollywood tape was leaked, a Clinton-esque white pantsuit to the State of the Union, snakeskin shoes to hurricane-ravaged Texas. Perhaps most incredibly of all was the “I REALLY DON’T CARE, DO U?” coat that she wore to meet immigrant children.
“Taken as a whole, all of her style rebellions have served the same purpose, and not only misdirection and distraction – strategies her husband knows all too well,” she writes. “I believe Melania uses style to punish her husband.”
Donald Snr is very rude to Don Jnr
Multiple times, Omarosa recounts the president insulting his own son. One time comes after he compared Syrian refugees to Skittles, for instance, another after he released the email chain about a meeting in Trump Tower that became central to the Russia investigation.
After that, Trump called his son “such a f**k-up,” according to Omarosa. “He screwed up again, but this time, he’s screwing us all, big time!”
Trump fired a White House staffer for failing to set up a tanning bed
Omarosa gives a brief insight into the life of Angella Reid, a White House usher and one of the few fellow African-Americans in the building. She was fired last year – in a decision that appeared to be political, despite the fact that the job isn’t considered a political one.
But Omarosa says that might actually have happened because of a failure to deal with one of Donald Trump’s most favourite pieces of equipment.
“The unofficial line? That she wasn’t very well liked and, allegedly, Trump didn’t approve of her handling of his tanning bed. I’d heard he was unhappy with her efforts to procure the bed, to bring it into the East Wing securely, to find a discreet place for it, and to set it up properly,” she writes.
Donald Trump can’t really read
Omarosa notes that Trump has a tendency to read very slowly – that, in fact, his slow delivery was one of the reasons why his address to the joint session of congress had been so well received. But that might be because he can’t actually read very quickly, his former aide suggests.
She says that he is not wholly illiterate but reads “at an eighth- or ninth-grade level”. He struggled to read the documents he needed to, and she says that he has “never read from beginning to end any of the major pieces of legislation, policies or even some of these executive orders that he has signed”.
He gets away with it because of his charisma and street smarts, she says.
Pence just waiting to be president
At one point, relatively late in the book, Omarosa talks about taking a trip with Mike Pence to the United States Military Academy at West Point. But it’s not the day’s events that catches her eye – it’s the vice president’s comments.
She says that in private people said to him things like “When we’re in charge...”, or “Once you become president...”. When she pressed him, he refused to say whether he had ambitions for office after Donald Trump had finished.
“I suspected that Pence was just biding his time, looking the part of the perfect VP, until Trump resigned, was impeached, or served his term,” she writes.
And the rest of the White House isn’t very good either
Omarosa attacks just about everybody else she worked with under Trump, too. They include Kellyanne Conway, who she calls a swamp monster – that description runs throughout the book, and at one point she says that the parade of bad people is part of the reason Trump was troubled.
“In the White House, tucked away in his private quarters, with guards every five feet, a huge staff of swamp monsters, leakers, people collecting his trash for an archive, he felt paranoid and distrustful.”
Omarosa anticipated Trump’s reaction
The book’s release has been accompanied by a storm of tweets from the president about how it is false, how its author is lying, and much more besides. But the book itself makes the point that this was somewhat inevitable.
Discussing Trump’s reversal on Steve Bannon after it became clear he had been the source for Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury, she writes of how anyone speaking out will be abused.
“If you leave or betray the Trump cult, you are labelled crazy and pathetic. Trump did not care that he completely contradicted himself after he’d tweeted nice things about his departed senior advisor. He changed his tone only after Bannon appeared to go against the grain. It is a pattern the White House repeats often. Lying is second nature in this administration.”
Join our new commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies