Omarosa. One name is all you need. Madame is mononymous, and for all the wrong reasons: not fame, but infamy.
Her full name is Omarosa Manigault Newman, if you must know. Her claim to fame prior to latching herself onto the Trump campaign was being on Donald Trump’s reality show and being fired by him.
Now, she is in the headlines for again parting ways with the man who made her.
According to reports, she was fired by Chief of Staff John Kelly at a Christmas party and forcibly removed from the building. According to her, she gracefully resigned. As is always the case with this White House, somebody is lying.
But whatever the true nature of her departure, it is important to understand why few will mourn it.
Omarosa is odious, on purpose, as a strategic act of persona shaping and career building. It is part performance and part personal defect. The publisher’s summary on Omarosa’s own book, “The Bitch Switch: Knowing How to Turn It On and Off,” labeled her “the primetime villainess you love to hate.”
She is a fame junkie and check chaser, a devourer of any and all who stand between her and that which she craves.
She made her mark with an acerbic tongue, sharp elbows and a survive-at-all-costs scheming, and by being, as she wrote in her book, a cat who could “be just as aggressive as any breed of dog (i.e., our male counterparts).” She was modeling the worst of men. She was modeling the essence of Trump himself: mean, bullying, self-interested, self-aggrandizing and rapacious.
And often, the focus of her scorn and venom were other black people. This made it all the more shocking when she became the “director of African-American outreach” for the Trump campaign.
Omarosa was persona non grata in the black community. Whom did she have the ability to reach?
Actress Sheryl Lee Ralph, who said in an interview that she and Omarosa had been friends for a long time, also said that Omarosa told her: “Sheryl, I am going to the White House. I will have an office in the White House. I am riding this train.”
So, Omarosa made it to the White House, but even people there didn’t seem to fully understand what she was doing other than stirring up trouble.
Her title was director of communications for the White House Office of Public Liaison. Yes, sounds hollow, doesn’t it? The most notable initiative with which she was associated during her time in the administration was what The Washington Post called “badly managing a campaign to increase funding for historically black colleges and universities.”
In September, Politico reported: “The Trump administration is downsizing an annual conference of historically black colleges and universities after refusing to accede to the request of college leaders and some members of Congress to delay it after President Donald Trump’s response to the violence in Charlottesville, Va.”
Great job, Omarosa.
But now that she’s out of the White House and on her vengeance and vindication tour of television interviews, it is clear to me that clawing is about to commence.
In an interview with ABC’s “Nightline,” Omarosa said of Trump:
“Trump is racial; he is not a racist. The things that he says, the types of pushback that he gives, involve people of color. And so, these are racial exchanges. Yes, I will acknowledge, many of the exchanges, particularly in the last six months, have been racially charged. Do we then just stop and label him as a racist? No.”
First of all, Omarosa is smart enough and devious enough to know that she just threw Trump under the bus with that comment, but also smart enough and devious enough to know that he may well view it as complimentary.
This is the diabolical genius of Omarosa: delivering faint praise as she fatally plunges the blade.
This racial vs. racist argument is purely academic because the resulting impacts and injuries are indistinguishable. Sure, you can argue that there is an enormous difference between conscious and subconscious biases and that the racist is both conscious of his biases and using them as behavioral guides.
But in this interview, Omarosa seems to be confessing that Trump himself is rife with subconscious, anti-minority biases. Another way to label that is to call it white supremacy.
When asked whether she was concerned when Trump said of the protesters in Charlottesville that there were “very fine people” on both sides, Omarosa responded that she was concerned, and that “there is a level of sensitivity that needed to go to handling that situation that requires a learning curve.”
That’s right. Omarosa is saying that 71-year-old Trump requires a learning curve to move away from racial hostility and toward racial sensitivity and tolerance.
This is fallacy and fantasy. Trump’s racial hostility isn’t about his difficulty with learning, but comfort with tribalism. Trump’s white supremacy can’t be pedagogically altered because it is pathologically rooted.
And what does it say about Omarosa that she offered herself up at the soul auction for a ticket to “ride that train”?
She was just another snake in the pit, and now that they have turned on her she’s turning on them. There are no heroes here, only villains at war.
<CHARLES M. BLOW