WH Aide Omarosa Has Tense Exchange at Black Journalist Convention

Andrew Harnik  AP

There's some "heavy drama" in New Orleans at the National Association of Black Journalists conference after organizers made a decision to add top Trump aide Omarosa Manigault to a panel.

The NABJ has long invited members of the White House administration to participate in its conference, the group said in an earlier statement to TheWrap, however given the current climate, Omarosa -who now serves as Director of Communications for the White House Office of Public Liaison - was a particularly polarizing choice. Trump recently said some police officers are too courteous to suspects when arresting them.

Manigault-Newman, a former reality star on Trump's TV show "The Apprentice", began by telling the story of the loss of her father and brother to violence in Youngstown, Ohio.

However, some attendees turned their backs on her as she sat down for the panel moderated by BET journalist Ed Gordon that included Philando Castile's mother Valerie Castile and Alton Sterling's aunt Sandra Sterling.

"You don't walk away from the table", Manigault responded when asked why she would take a job in an administration they viewed as being hostile to African Americans, NPR reported. Though she criticized her boss for seeming to encourage police brutality, she defended the administration in a series of heated exchanges over its relationship with communities of color around the country.

"Shame on you", Manigault -Newman told Gordon just minutes after coming on stage.

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She later said she had invited several law enforcement officials to visit the White House to discuss criminal justice issues.

"You immediately go to Donald Trump!". Others said she had no business being there in the first place (as she isn't a journalist) and as an actual representative of the White House, she refused to add anything substantive to the discussion - and so earned her cold shoulders.

NABJ President Sarah Glover at one point faced the audience herself to explain Manigault-Newman's appearance at the conference.

Manigualt walked off the stage when Gordon said it was a "quagmire" that had "reached the point of diminished returns", according to The Times. "Her personal experience is her personal experience".

During the Republican National Convention in July 2016, Manigault announced she was given the position of Director of African-American Outreach for Donald Trump's presidential campaign.

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