In a private meeting, which was secretly taped by then-White House staffer Omarosa Manigault Newman, President Donald Trump discussed details of a deadly attack against U.S. soldiers in Niger.
In Manigault Newman’s tape, the second half of which she released earlier Monday, Trump is heard sharing details of the Niger raid, which left four American soldiers dead, with White House communications staffers in between making points about the economy and Hillary Clinton. Manigault Newman told MSNBC’s Craig Melvin that the staffers in the room didn’t have security clearances.
“These are junior staffers that he’s rambling on to,” she said. “Very junior staffers.”
On the tape, Trump asserts to the staffers that the United States has “decimated” the extremist presence in the Middle East, and claims that this is why U.S. troops are dealing with attacks elsewhere.
“What happens is now they flee, and they flee to Africa,” Trump is heard saying. “And they flee to Niger and countries around there. And that’s how these young people get attacked, and they got attacked by 50 real fighters. But these were people, in many cases, that were in the Middle East, that now go to Africa to try and cause problems there.”
ISIS in the Greater Sahara, an Islamic State-affiliated group, claimed responsibility for the Niger ambush.
Later on the tape, Trump tries to crack a joke with the communications staffers about terrorism.
“It’s a rough business,” he says. “I don’t think I’d want to be a terrorist right now. It’s not a good life. But it’s the only thing— What else is there?”
Trump shared details of the deadly Niger raid with his comms team, a recording from Omarosa Manigault Newman shows: pic.twitter.com/JDukmVqKMI
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) September 10, 2018