It doesn’t matter what we think of Omarosa
In June 2016, Omarosa Manigault Newman made this prediction about her boss, presidential candidate Donald Trump:
“Every critic, every detractor will have to bow down to President Trump. It’s everyone who’s ever doubted Donald, whoever disagreed, whoever challenged him. It is the ultimate revenge to become the most powerful man in the universe.”
Yes, she said that.
In that same interview, Manigault Newman, who is black, shrugged off Trump’s racist depiction of Mexican immigrants as rapists and criminals. “That announcement will go down as the greatest announcement for presidency in the history of political politics,” she said. As for his comments about immigrants? “I said: ‘He’s at it again. Donald’s being Donald.’ And it worked.”
Yes, she said that.
Last December, Manigault Newman was fired by the White House. In the ensuing months, she summoned all of the lessons she learned from Trump during her time on “The Apprentice” and used them against him. Her new book, “Unhinged: An Insider’s Account of the Trump White House,” depicts the president as an out-of-control racist and misogynist who is increasingly untethered from reality. She has audio recordings of White House conversations, which she is leaking one at a time, and says she also has audio proof of Trump using the N-word.
Her book is variously being described as a tell-all, a work of fiction, a betrayal and a desperate attempt to redeem herself for her complicity in his presidency. Critics on the left and the right and a whole chunk of the middle are calling her a liar, an opportunist and an attention whore. Those are the nicer words.
Yes, Manigault Newman’s motives are suspect, and her character is questionable, and her every story about the Trump administration may be riddled with lies.
What matters is Trump’s response.
This week, the president of the United States called Omarosa Manigault Newman a “dog.”
Linda-Susan Beard is the director of Africana studies at Bryn Mawr College. As she explained to The New York Times, we have a long history here in the United States of racists comparing black women to dogs.
“He’s drawing on a history of discourse that is so hate-filled and so historic that it all came together in these (35) words,” she said, describing Trump’s tweet about Manigault Newman. “The statement is brilliant in its ability to do double duty: to offer an attack that is simultaneously racialized and gendered.”
Predictably, some white people — mostly men, I’ve noticed — are insisting on social media that Trump’s “dog” pejorative had nothing to do with race. To which I say, Down boys. Sit.
Since his inauguration, Trump has made clear his animosity for black people. He knows exactly what he’s doing, and it is long past time that more white Americans named it.
As one of my friends put it, “What is the term when the dog whistle can be heard by everyone?”
Connie Schultz is a Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist.