Omarosa trumps The Donald
Omarosa Manigault Newman is a reprehensible character. She is venal, arrogant and cruel. She is a narcissist, a liar and a hypocrite. She is indiscreet, obnoxious and vain. In short, she was a perfect representative of the administration of President Donald J. Trump.
They are made for each other. Indeed, she and the president have, as she puts it, a “symbiotic relationship” — two parasitic creatures who feed off and encourage each other’s worst impulses. That remains true even as their very public spat rages on.
Still, Manigault Newman’s ability to harm the republic is limited. She helps to coarsen the culture, of course, and the publicity tour for her book about her stint in the White House — “Unhinged: An Insider’s Account of the Trump White House” — has become the latest shiny object to lure the news media away from the genuine threats of the Trump kleptocracy.
But she is not weakening the rule of law, destroying the Western alliance or trampling the U.S. Constitution. The other star of reality television — the one who occupies the Oval Office — is doing that. Can we focus on him instead?
If Trump’s administration were not filled with other Omarosas — other mendacious, back-biting, back-stabbing, self-serving miscreants — focusing on her would amount to a harmless distraction. Unfortunately, the Trump White House is full of them. And the worst of the lot is the The Donald himself.
One of Manigault Newman’s more explosive claims is that she has heard a tape in which Trump used the ‘n-word,” a recording supposedly made back during his tenure as host of “The Apprentice.” In the absence of a publicly-produced audio tape, there is no way to know whether that is true. Manigault Newman, again, is not known for her veracity.
But does the existence of such a tape matter? Don’t we already know that the president traffics in abhorrent racial stereotypes?
He has done more to damage race relations than any public figure since the era of Barry Goldwater and George Wallace, disparaging Muslims, denigrating Mexicans and describing poor countries of color as ‘s-holes.” Conversely, he has seemed incapable of calling out the white nationalist haters who number among his most fervent supporters.
Just in the last several days, he has insulted the intelligence of several well-known black Americans, including LeBron James and CNN’s Don Lemon. And because he does not understand the nation’s dehumanizing racial history — or because he understands it all too well — he stooped to referring to Manigault Newman in a tweet as a “dog.” That makes clear the lens through which he views black women. (Manigault Newman, by the way, chose to defend him as long as it served her purposes.)
She calls Trump a misogynist. We needed her tell-all book to point that out? The president’s bone-deep disrespect for women predates the campaign, during which a videotape surfaced in which he bragged about grabbing women’s genitals and getting away with it. In a 2004 radio exchange with host Howard Stern, Trump said this: “My daughter, Ivanka. She’s 6 feet tall, she’s got the best body. She made a lot money as a model—a tremendous amount.”
What kind of father makes that kind of creepy comment about his own child? Only one for whom women are mere objects.
Manigault Newman also contends that Trump is laughably unqualified for his job as leader of the Free World. We didn’t need her analysis of his intellectual limitations, either. His inability to grasp the more demanding aspects of his job has long been apparent.
His national security advisers have resorted to giving him a verbal briefing daily because he could not absorb the shortened version — the one with lots of pictures and bullet-points — that they had created for him previously. He chooses his advisers from among the pool of sycophants who praise him on television. He cannot be trusted to read a prepared speech from a teleprompter because he finds it boring.
I have learned nothing from Manigault Newman’s publicity tour that I didn’t already know — either about Trump or about her. Well, maybe that’s not quite true. Given her uncanny ability to keep herself in the news and reap the financial benefits, too, I now suspect that is smarter than her former boss. But that’s a pretty low bar.