"Once the cameras stopped rolling, Omarosa also told me some other s--- that I'm too scared to put into this book," Ross Mathews writes

By Sam Gillette Diane Herbst
February 07, 2020 10:37 AM
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Omarosa Manigault Newman — of course — had some shocking things to say about her time in the Trump administration while she was filming Celebrity Big Brother, at least according to a new book by fellow housemate Ross Mathews.

In Mathews’ Name Drop: The Really Good Celebrity Stories I Usually Only Tell At Happy Hour, published on Tuesday, he writes that Newman privately told the cast some White House secrets that “shook us all to the core” — information that Mathews was “too scared” to include in his book.

“Once the cameras stopped rolling, Omarosa also told me some other s— that I’m too scared to put into this book,” Mathews, 40, writes. “The day after we got out of the Celebrity Big Brother house, we all met up at Marissa’s house to finally talk about all the stuff no one wanted to mention while cameras had been rolling twenty-four hours a day.”

He continues: “Like a scene right out of a spy movie, Omarosa made us all put our phones in a corner, and then she spilled some serious White House tea that shook us all to the core. She dramatically swore us all to secrecy.”

Newman, 46, was equally circumspect with PEOPLE, saying she was glad Mathews didn’t renege on their pact of secrecy.

“I shared a lot of very intimate details about my experience at the White House with my cast-mates and they assured me they would keep it confidential,” she says. “Each of them promised to keep the information private. I am glad he left the juiciest bits out of his book.”

It might be the first time something juicy about her time with Trump didn’t become public.

The former Apprentice contestant has a turbulent history with President Donald Trump. After becoming famous as the prototypical reality TV villain with The Apprentice‘s first season, she later followed Trump to the White House.

But in 2017, Newman was fired from her position as director of communications for the White House Office of Public Liaison. Almost immediately, in keeping with the theatrical and aggressive style she shared with the president, Newman began teasing a tell-all.

A year later, she released Unhinged, in which she claimed that the president was in “mental decline,” among other alarming allegations. The book went on to reach No. 1 on The New York Times‘ bestseller list, even as the White House labeled her a liar with a grudge.

“Instead of telling the truth about all the good President Trump and his administration are doing to make America safe and prosperous, this book is riddled with lies and false accusations,” Sarah Sanders, then the press secretary, said in a statement at the time.

“It’s sad that a disgruntled former White House employee is trying to profit off these false attacks, and even worse that the media would now give her a platform, after not taking her seriously when she had only positive things to say about the President during her time in the administration,” Sanders said.

Trump’s campaign also filed for arbitration, accusing the former White House aide of violating the terms of a 2016 nondisclosure agreement. And the president himself blasted Newman in personal terms, calling her a “dog” with “zero credibility.”

Aides also reportedly began whispering that Newman’s White House position had been mostly irrelevant and she herself a troublemaker more than anything.

From left: Omarosa Manigault Newman and President Donald Trump in 2015
Timothy A. Clary/AFP/Getty
The cast of season 1 of Celebrity Big Brother

Name Drop — a collection of humorous and irreverent anecdotes drawn from Mathews’ run-ins with celebrities during his time in showbiz — hits a somewhat serious note when he recounts his time with Newman on the first season of the U.S. version of Celebrity Big Brother.

Mathews writes that after the former Apprentice star told him that he was “the biggest threat in the house,” he knew she had to go.

“But I also wasn’t stupid—I knew having her on the show meant huge ratings,” he writes. “I knew the fact that Omarosa was in the house meant one thing: Millions of Americans were watching to see what she’d say about her former boss, our commander in chief.”

One night, Mathews waited until everyone else was in bed and then talked to Newman in the backyard. He wanted to know why she would follow President Trump to the White House.

“I felt like I was serving my country by serving him,” Manigault Newman told Mathews in a Celebrity Big Brother episode that aired in February 2018. “It was always about the country. Like, I was haunted by tweets every single day. What is he gonna tweet next?”

“Does anybody say to him, ‘What are you doing?’ ” Mathews asked.

“I mean, I tried to be that person, and then all of the people around him attacked me,” she said, breaking down into tears and claiming she got iced out by the administration.

“Who has that power to say what’s going on?” Mathews asked.

From left: Omarosa Manigault Newman and Ross Mathews
Zach Pagano/NBCU Photo Bank/NBCUniversal via Getty; Andrew Toth/Getty

 

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RELATED VIDEO: Omarosa Manigault Newman Snaps at Savannah Guthrie During Heated Interview

“I don’t know. I’m not there. It’s not my circus, not my monkeys,” she said. “I’d like to say not my problem but I can’t say that because — it’s bad.”

“Should we be worried?” Mathews asked, begging her to tell him everything would be “be okay.”

She replied: “No, it’s not gonna be okay. It’s not. So bad.”

She also compared leaving the White House to getting “freed off the plantation.”

Mathews was quick to alert the producers to their conversation, which set off a frenzy of national headlines after the moment aired on TV. But, he writes in his new book, what Newman said off-camera was even scarier — so much so that at first Mathews planned to ignore his zipped-lip vow and reveal the “White House tea” when he wrote his book.

“You guys, it was way too juicy to keep to myself,” he explains in Name Drop. “Plus, I knew Omarosa pretty well by now, so she didn’t scare me! That is until I walked her out of Marissa’s house that afternoon and saw two security guards waiting to escort her into a black SUV.”

Mathews wondered if it was the FBI or CIA, he writes. After she was driven away, “I swear to God a scary black helicopter right out of a Tom Cruise summer blockbuster flew over,” he writes. “Was it her security? The government watching? Or just a news helicopter headed to cover a story? I’ll never know for sure, but I wasn’t about to mess with that s—.”

When asked if she was being tailed or investigated by a government agency, Newman tells PEOPLE: “Currently the president, his campaign and the Justice Department are suing me to keep me from sharing any information about what has happened to me. Until those lawsuits and arbitration are resolved I can’t go into it.” 

Name Drop is on sale now.

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