Considering the level of involvement ex-Apprentice star Omarosa Manigault has had thus far with president-elect Donald Trump, it shouldn’t come as a shock that she’s now officially part of his transition team.
As Trump moves ever closer to his inauguration on Jan. 20, he’s beefing up his team to help support him as he prepares to enter the Oval Office. Manigault, more popularly known by her first name, has been officially appointed to serve on Trump’s executive committee.
In The Hollywood Reporter‘s annual Women in Entertainment issue, she explained her position is called “national engagement.”
“[Trump] has given me a personal directive that with the 4,000 jobs we need to fill, he wants his administration to be the most diverse in history,” she said.
She also praised Trump as being “open-minded,” saying “he does not judge people on their gender or race.”
Manigault and Trump first met while filming Season 1 of The Apprentice in 2004; she was known for her argumentative personality, and never pulled any punches with her fellow contestants. She made it fairly far into the season, but was fired on Week 9 of the competition.
The twosome worked together again on 2010’s The Ultimate Merger, an African-American dating reality show the pair co-produced. The short-lived show featured Manigault and 12 potential suitors vying for her affections, and it never moved past its first season.
Despite many claims that Trump is racist because of his proposed anti-immigration plans and alleged anti-minority hiring policies in the past, Manigault defended him, saying that he is actually a very compassionate man and he’s “open-minded, and does not judge people on their gender or race.”
She claims that Trump reached out to her on two separate occasions to express his condolences: once following the 2011 fatal shooting of her brother, Jack, and the second time in 2012 when a heart attack killed her fiancé, actor Michael Clarke Duncan.
Manigault is currently engaged to John Allen Newman, a Florida pastor.
This past April, a few of Manigault’s fellow Apprentice alumni came together to denounce Trump.
Season 1 runner-up Kwame Jackson said then that Trump doesn’t have the right “temperament” to be U.S. president. He also accused him of appealing “to the lowest common denominator of fear, racism and divisiveness in our populace.”
Season 4 winner Randal Pinkett has been a vocal critic of Trump since the millionaire started campaigning.
“We acknowledge Donald’s success as a businessman, and genuinely appreciate the opportunity The Apprentice afforded all of us,” Pinkett said in April.
“We, however, strongly condemn Donald’s campaign of sexism, xenophobia, racism, violence and hate. Our allegiance to our country supersedes our relationship with Donald… we see today as an act of patriotism, not disloyalty.”