Rep. Maxine Waters

WASHINGTON, DC — The idea that Trump and his circle might have a special fear of black women is gaining traction, perhaps because of the White House’s panicked reaction to a new book by Omarosa Manigault-Newman.

Ilhan Omar, the Somali-American who won a Democratic congressional primary recently, echoed this idea when she said, “I am America’s hope and the president’s nightmare.”

The White House itself lent credence to this idea by their reaction to Manigault-Newman. Recently, Axios published an article titled “Inside Omarosa’s Reign of Terror” which quoted lurid statements by Trump officials about how scary Manigault-Newman was:

• “I’m scared shitless of her… She’s a physically intimidating presence,” a male former colleague of Omarosa’s told me. (He wouldn’t let me use a more precise description of his former White House role because he admitted he’s still scared of retribution from Omarosa. Other senior officials have admitted the same to me.)

• “I never said no to her,” the source added. “Anything she wanted, ‘Yes, brilliant.’ I’m afraid of her. I’m afraid of getting my ass kicked.”

• Three other former officials shared that sentiment: “One hundred percent, everyone was scared of her,” said another former official.

• The notion that Trump has a particular reaction to women of color has been around for sometime. Former Republican Sophia Nelson discussed the president’s disdain for black women last October in Politico. But there’s renewed focus on the specific role fear might play, thanks to the controversies around Omarosa but also the increased visibility of politicians like Maxine Waters and Ilhan Omar.