Opinion writer

The Post reports:

President Trump on Tuesday referred to Omarosa Manigault Newman as “that dog” as the former senior White House adviser continued a publicity tour to promote her new book depicting Trump as a racist. …

Trump’s tweet came shortly after Manigault Newman appeared on “CBS This Morning” and released a new recording purportedly of a discussion in October 2016 among campaign aides about how to handle a tape on which Trump is said to have used the n-word. …

In her book, “Unhinged,” Manigault Newman claims the Trump campaign was aware of the existence of the tape from the “Apprentice” period. She describes a phone conversation about how to handle potential fallout with Lynne Patton, then an assistant to Eric Trump, a son of the president; then-Trump spokeswoman Katrina Pierson; and campaign communications director Jason Miller.

Let’s begin with the obvious: Neither Pierson nor Patton were high-level staffers. Pierson’s history of knee-slapping rationalizations and far-fetched spin on Trump’s behalf don’t exactly enhance her credibility. Simply because two low-level aides are discussing a tape doesn’t mean the tape exists. It could — but this evidence is far from probative.

What happened after Omarosa appeared on CBS is much more revealing. Trump tweeted: “When you give a crazed, crying lowlife a break, and give her a job at the White House, I guess it just didn’t work out. Good work by General Kelly for quickly firing that dog!” He calls an African American woman a “dog.” Take that in.

Whether he said the n-word on a tape hardly matters. His constant, reflexive racist rhetoric is public knowledge at this point. Unfortunately, a familiar charade will now ensue; Trump defenders will claim that he calls plenty of men “dogs.” He accusers will say, ‘But we know what he meant!” Let’s not go down that road.

In this case, it is true that he has called men dogs. But it is also true that he has taken to disparaging African Americans with particular ferocity and regularity. As my colleague Aaron Blake notes, “So just as Trump supporters have fought back against the idea that Trump disproportionately labels black people ‘dumb’ or ‘stupid’ by pointing to all the times he did the same with white people — never mind that 13 of the last 22 have been black — they can point to all the times Trump also likened men to dogs. It’s just what he does! He’s an equal opportunity offender!”

Trump is expert at very unsubtle racist rhetoric — whether it is claiming that the first African American president was born in Africa, that there are “fine people” among neo-Nazis, that immigrants are “infesting” America, or that we should prefer (white) Norwegians to (brown and black people) from “shithole” countries. Moreover, the absence of any African American senior staffer in the West Wing, his inexcusably cruel and ineffective anti-immigrant policies, and his abject neglect of Puerto Rico leave little doubt about his attitudes toward nonwhites. We’re convinced. No more proof is needed.

Likewise, when it comes to women, no more proof is needed of his deep misogyny. He has sided with alleged spousal abuser Rob Porter and alleged child molester Roy Moore. A long line of women have made allegations of sexual assault. He regularly insults women’s appearance, implied that a U.S. senator was willing to trade sex for campaign cash and reserves his harshest barbs against allies for two female European leaders. We are learning more every day about payoffs to women with whom he allegedly had adulterous affairs — but subsequently called liars.

If the best his defenders can do is to claim that these latest comments about Omarosa are merely insulting and unpresidential — but not more proof of his racism and sexism — then let them make their case. We’re now just debating what specific attributes make Trump unfit to hold office. As long as we all know he’s mentally, morally and temperamentally unfit and should be shown the door as soon as possible, we can ignore Omarosa, which would — come to think of it — be a good idea in any event. And by the way, if you think women buy these excuses, take a look at the gender gap. Women know exactly what Trump means.