Omarosa Manigault Newman — the love-to-hate villain on “The Apprentice” who took a job in President Trump’s administration before writing her post-firing tell-all book — got her first taste of politics and the media as a student at Central State University.
Manigault Newman’s student career at the historically Black university included working at two national political conventions in 1996 as part of a group of college students who assisted the Dayton Daily News coverage, she wrote in the book, “Unhinged.”
“… I covered the Republican National Convention in San Diego and then the Democratic National Convention in Chicago for the Dayton Daily News,” she wrote in her account published by Gallery Books. “I did double duty working for the Associated Press as a film runner, literally grabbing footage shot on the floor and running it to the editing room.”
Manigault Newman, who is promoting the book, continued to unleash scathing criticism of Trump in an AP interview Wednesday, saying he’s in mental decline and unfit to be president, and is intentionally sowing racial division. She accused him of using his rowdy political rallies to divide, even suggesting Trump is promoting violence. She commented just hours after Trump’s campaign announced it was filing an arbitration action against her, alleging violations of a secrecy agreement she signed.
But before delving into her current beef with Trump, early passages of her book present a halcyon look at her college years in southwest Ohio. She participated the college program under her professor and close confidant Dr. Emil Dansker, a retired Central State professor who lives now in Warren County.
“Dr. Dansker ran a program he called the National Conventions Project to give student journalists the chance to cover political conventions and presidential inaugurations,” Manigault Newman wrote. “I applied for the program and was thrilled to be selected to cover the Summer Olympics in Atlanta in the office of press operations for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.”
In an interview with the Dayton Daily News, Dansker said he grew close with Manigault Newman — “Onee,” he called her — during class and the several off-campus excursions.
“She was a runner, a messenger for the AP and also for the Daily News and Atlanta,” Dansker said. “I remember her being — how should I say — sharp. She didn’t ask how. When she was on the list working for these guys, she didn’t ask how, she just did it.”
Dansker said few of his students received credit for their work in the form of newspaper bylines — something that appears to be the case with regard to Manigault Newman. None of the editions the newspaper produced during the 1996 conventions credits or mentions her. The name “Omarosa” appears in the Daily News’ digitized archives on only one day in the 1990s in an April 1994 story about a Central State student production.
Several current and former Daily News employees said that while they do not personally remember Manigault Newman, they do remember Dansker’s program. Community Impact Editor Ron Rollins said he remembers Dansker’s participation in the 1996 Olympics coverage, as Manigault Newman mentioned, when a team of Dayton-based staff traveled to assist the staff of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, a Cox sister paper.
“We’ve worked with Central State in many different ways over the years, and the positive professional experience she describes is just what we hope the student-journalists get out of working with us,” said Jim Bebbington, the current Daily News editor.
Manigault Newman, who could not be reached through a spokeswoman for this story, continued her relationship with Dansker after her graduation from Central State.
“When she worked for the Clinton White House, she actually took me and a couple of others through the basement of the White House,” Dansker said. “We kept in touch over the years and she would, as a matter of fact, call me ‘Dad,’ which would bring us some pretty interesting reactions because she’s very dark, and I’m very light.”
“She has her own way of expressing herself. I must admit I was disappointed when she left the Clintons and went to work for the president. In a certain sense, I suppose I was pleased when she saw fit to leave the White House,” Dansker said. “I can’t tell how, in a sense, how credible — should I say, right or wrong — (she is) because I haven’t been that involved in it. But she is outspoken, she does have her own mind, and when she sees something to say she says it.”
The Associated Press contributed reporting.