In her latest act, Clinton administration aide turned reality-television star turned Trump White House aide turned reality-show participant Omarosa Manigault Newman is suggesting that America will not be “okay” under the current administration.
After about a year as the most powerful black woman in the Trump administration, Manigault Newman returned to the television genre that brought her fame after resigning (being fired?) from her position as director of communications at the White House Office of Public Liaison.
She is now a cast member on “Celebrity Big Brother,” a reality show where celebrities live together in a house to compete for money. Others joining her include Keshia Knight Pulliam, best known as Rudy Huxtable on “The Cosby Show,” Mark McGrath of 1990s pop band Sugar Ray and former UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell.
Not long after Manigault Newman left the White House, there were reports that she was shopping a tell-all book about her time with President Trump. But so far, we've seen only the recently released clip of her claiming to have been sidelined by the White House staff as she tried to bring some order to a presidency that many voters defined as “chaotic.”
In a clip released by the show, Manigault Newman is shown saying:
“I felt like it was a call to duty. I felt like I was serving my country, not serving [Trump].”
“I was haunted by tweets every single day, like, what is he going to tweet next?”
“I tried to be that person, and then all of the people around him attacked me. It was like: ‘Keep her away. Don’t give her access. Don’t let her talk to him.’ ”
And lastly, she summed up her outlook on the Trump White House:
“I need you to say, ‘No, it’s going to be okay,' ” said housemate Ross Mathews, perhaps best known for his appearances as “Ross the Intern” on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.”
“No, it’s not going to be okay. It’s not,” Manigault Newman responded. “It’s so bad.”
One of Manigault Newman's biggest challenges has always been credibility. Before drawing widespread scorn for turning on what she called “the b---- switch” as a participant on Trump's “The Apprentice,” Manigault Newman had a political stint during the Clinton administration, and, according to People magazine in 2004, was banished from four jobs within two years.
Cheryl Shavers, the former undersecretary for technology at the Commerce Department, where Manigault Newman worked for several weeks in 2000, said that at her last job there Manigault Newman “was asked to leave as quickly as possible, she was so disruptive. One woman wanted to slug her.”
During the earliest days of the 2016 election cycle, Manigault Newman, who had called herself a Democrat, tweeted support for Hillary Clinton.
But Manigault Newman told the New York Times in 2016 that she eventually decided to support her friend Trump. She repeatedly claimed to be focused on black voter outreach and said she helped Trump perform better in the election than the 2012 GOP presidential nominee, Mitt Romney.
“When Donald announced, my decision was to support my friend in his desire to become the president of the United States,” she said. “We jokingly called ourselves Trumplicans at the beginning.”
But this loyalty wasn't reciprocated in the long term. The latest clip of Manigault Newman confirms earlier reports that her access to Trump was limited. To hear her tell it, she was not able to get close enough to him to block his tweets. Deputy White House press secretary Raj Shah told reporters at Thursday's press briefing that Manigault Newman had “limited contact” with the president.
Manigault Newman's view of the Trump White House as “bad” isn't breaking news. We know from polls that large sums of the American people agree. But what is less likely is that Manigault Newman had the ability to make things better.
Americans — including those who got on the Trump train with Manigault Newman — would like to see improvement in their White House. Whether it will happen is unclear, but there seems to be few who believe that Manigault Newman was the person who could have spearheaded those changes.