It didn’t take long for the first-ever U.S. season of Celebrity Big Brother to turn political. Omarosa Manigault and Keshia Knight Pulliam clashed over their loyalties to President Donald Trump and Bill Cosby on the CBS reality show’s second episode, which aired on Thursday, February 8.
“Based on who Omarosa has supported and had a job with in this current White House, we couldn’t be further than polar opposites in terms of our political views,” the Cosby Show alum, 38, told viewers in the diary room.
So when the two houseguests later sat down together, their allegiances outside of the Big Brother house quickly became a topic of discussion. Reflecting on Manigault’s yearlong tenure in the Trump administration, Pulliam asked, “Do you feel like you were able to understand how people from the outside looking in just saw the hate that that campaign kind of incited and that you supported it?”
The political aide shot back, “When you’re in the middle of the hurricane, it’s hard to see the destruction on the outer bands,” before calling out the former child star for publicly defending her TV dad Cosby, 80, after he was accused of sexual assault by dozens of women.
“Since you’re asking me, you stood strong by somebody who you have known and have been loyal to and have known for a long time and who has supported you, and people judged you for that,” Manigault added. “But only you know the inner workings of your relationship with Mr. Cosby. That’s the same thing with me and Mr. Trump.”
Pulliam, who played Rudy Huxtable on the NBC sitcom from 1984 to 1992, didn’t agree with the analogy. “It’s comparing apples to oranges,” she replied. “It’s a different situation because this man [Trump] is running the country and being the voice of a whole country of people.”
Manigault then pointed out that Cosby’s “impact on the black community was just as significant.” She added, “People look up to the Cosbys. That’s the same thing. I will stand firm by that 100 percent.”
Later in the episode, fellow houseguest Ross Mathews asked the mononymous businesswoman about her stint working for Trump, 71, in Washington, D.C. She admitted that she would not vote for the real estate mogul again before breaking down in tears. “It’s not going to be OK,” Manigault said of her worries for the country. “It’s not. It’s so bad.”
Celebrity Big Brother airs on CBS Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 8 p.m. ET.