Donald Trump is clearly terrified that those who work near him will reveal his appalling behavior, so he makes everyone sign non-disclosure agreements that say they can’t say anything bad about him. And he can do that in private business, but NDAs that he made government employees sign will almost certainly be legally unenforceable.
There came a point where Manigault Newman transitioned from working with the Trump campaign to working for the White House, where she was paid by the federal government, according to Fenster.
“She was no longer working for a private entity or person. It’s not the Trump Organization or NBC or the campaign that’s trying to enforce the NDA. It’s the U.S. government,” he said. “Trump views it as the same thing, but she wasn’t working for him, she was working for the White House.”
Legally speaking, that makes all the difference.A non-private contract would also be troubling from a First Amendment perspective, according to Heidi Kitrosser, a professor at the University of Minnesota Law School, who called it “clearly unconstitutional.”
Trump will try to claim that it’s a private agreement between himself and Omarosa, or any other employee or associate he makes sign an NDA, but that’s just nonsense. He is now the president and all of the people who signed NDAs in the White House are government employees. That means it has to comply with the Constitution, unlike a private business in most instances, and the First Amendment clearly forbids prior restraint.
I’m sure his attorneys have told him that, but that may not be the point. The point is to make the threat, to bully and intimidate into silence anyone who criticizes him. Even if they would win in court, they would rack up huge legal fees for years as the case worked its way up. It’s basically a SLAPP suit against the government itself. And that expense would deter many from speaking out. I’d like to see the ACLU take up the case and foot the legal bill, because once you get the first ruling, all the other people who signed NDAs would be free to speak out without the bullying. Of course, the Stormy Daniels case may settle it as well. I hope that happens sooner rather than later.