Doug Jones’ upset in Alabama might not have been the only drama roiling the Trump White House on Tuesday night.
Multiple sources report that former Apprentice contestant Omarosa Manigault Newman, whose resignation from her position with the Trump administration was announced Wednesday, did not leave the White House voluntarily and had to be physically restrained and escorted off the White House grounds.
And the Secret Service confirms that her White House access pass was deactivated, but White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders says Manigault Newman “resigned”—not effective until January 20, 2018. Sanders did not address who Manigault Newman will continue to earn her taxpayer-funded salary if she no longer has access to the White House compound.
April Ryan, a White House correspondent who has feuded with Manigault Newman, tells PEOPLE that there was “drama” that involved Manigault Newman “cussing” before she was removed.
A White House official also told the Washington Post that she did “not voluntarily resign” and was escorted off the premises, while the Wall Street Journal reports she was “physically dragged and escorted off the campus” Tuesday evening.
A source in Manigault Newman’s camp says the “assertions are not true” and that Trump “has a lot of respect and love for Omarosa. He would never do that, they have a 14-year relationship.”
The Secret Service weighed in late Wednesday to say their personnel didn’t do any escorting from the premises: “The Secret Service was not involved in the termination process of Ms. Manigault Newman or the escort off of the complex. Our only involvement in this matter was to deactivate the individual’s pass which grants access to the complex.”
The source close to Manigault Newman’s camp says the controversial reality-TV figure felt increasingly unhappy with the way the Trump administration was handling racially charged issues.
“She is leaving because the pressure of being the only high-ranking African American woman in the Trump administration got to her, particularly after Charlottesville, the kneeling tweets (by Trump about football players kneeling during the national anthem) and Roy Moore,” the source says. “Everybody knows it is a mess.”
Manigault Newman, says the source, first wanted to leave after the August white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, where a counter-protester was killed and Trump responded by saying “both sides” were to blame for the violence.
She was also upset over Trump’s “fight with the black widow” of an African American soldier in Niger and black congresswoman Frederica Wilson, a friend of the soldier’s family.
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“This Roy Moore thing” put her “over the top,” says the source, referring to Alabama senate candidate Roy Moore, who said America was great during slavery and whom Trump supported in the race against Democrat Doug Jones.
Jones won Tuesday night, thanks to a tremendous turnout of African Americans who overwhelmingly cast their votes for him.
But questions about the abrupt announcement of her departure remain unanswered and when asked via email about Ryan’s claims, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders replied in a statement: “Omarosa Manigault Newman resigned yesterday to pursue other opportunities. Her departure will not be effective until January 20, 2018. We wish her the best in future endeavors and are grateful for her service.”
Manigault Newman, who made headlines for taking her 39-person bridal party to the White House for a photo shoot in April, is still on government payroll through January 20. But on Wednesday she was taking her mother to Washington’s Bible museum before bringing her to the White House later in the day to see the holiday decorations there — “in addition to doing work,” the source said.