It’s not that Omarosa was fired. It’s that she was ever hired in the first place.
Let the underscoring begin.
“Former presidential adviser Omarosa Manigault Newman is drawing fire from President Donald Trump’s allies and national security experts for secret recordings she made at the White House, including her firing by chief of staff John Kelly in the high-security Situation Room,” the Chicago Tribune wrote.
The Situation Room, as its name suggests, is a place where recordings are generally frowned upon because of the sensitive nature of the discussions.
Yet Manigault Newman recorded away.
First there were the recordings of John Kelly, chief of staff, reportedly telling Manigault Newman that her work ethics — “money issues and other things” — were of the type that would bring one in the military to court-martial, as the Chicago Tribune reported.
Then there was the recording of Manigault Newman speaking with President Donald Trump about her forced departure from the White House, which came on the heels of her discussion with Kelly. Trump, as the tape shows, expresses surprise and upset at her departure.
Manigault Newman has been a busy bee making the media rounds to use these recordings to score political points against Trump to show a) he’s a liar and b) he’s not in control of his own administration.
But Manigault Newman trying to seize the high moral ground here is rather like a robber insisting on a right to his pilfered booty.
This is the same woman who was described by Al Gore’s former office administrator as “the worst hire we ever made” — who was described by the Department of Commerce’s under secretary for technology administration as “unqualified and disruptive” and ultimately “removed” from the job, The New York Times reported.
The same woman who made secret recordings of high-ranking White House officials, while serving in the White House, while standing within an office known as a safe zone for trading sensitive information.
As NBC’s Savannah Guthrie prodded in some very good back-and-forth with Manigault Newman: “Is [Trump] lying? Because yesterday you told Chuck on ‘Meet the Press’ you think he did know you were fired. [But] this tape shows him saying, ‘I didn’t know you were fired.’ Is he lying?”
Yes, said Manigault Newman.
Here’s the bulk of her reply, in between Guthrie’s peppered questions: “[Trump] probably instructed Kelly to do it so he could keep his hands clean. The other question is, is General Kelly running this country, or is the president running this country? … Is General Kelly puppeting this country? Is he truly running this country?”
That’s called political pirouetting.
Guthrie, in the video posted on Mediaite: “Back to the honesty issue. Do you think the president lies? … Do you think the president lies often?”
Manigualt Newman: “Oh absolutely. In fact, there was a report that said that he lied almost 4,000 lies in the last year.”
Guthrie: “How long have you known that? … Have you known he is a liar as you say?”
Manigault Newman: “Absolutely.”
Guthrie: “Why did you work for him?”
Bam. Good question. Great question. And it was one that threw Manigault Newman off her game, for a split second. Long enough to notice. Long enough for the watching and listening audience to wonder at her deceit.
Her answer didn’t help.
“Savannah, slow down. I’m going to ask [answer] your question, don’t worry, I’m here, I’ve got all the time, so you don’t have to ask 10 questions in one second,” she said. “It’s OK. First of all, he is known to be an entertainer, to exaggerate, but I never expected him to lie to the country. I thought that he would take his oath of office seriously.”
Yada yada, and she was off and running again. Manigault Newman found her footing, regained her ground, got back in the dance.
But for a moment there — a brief moment, a brief steely-smile moment — the watching audience caught on to Omarosa’s game. And it’s a game that goes like this: Hit me once — I’ll return fire 10 times.
Her upcoming book, due for release this month; her media tour; her timed release of her tapes; her once-fawning, now hate-filled rhetoric against this White House and president — there are all pieces of the Manigault Newman game.
Her win rests entirely on drumming up public hatred for the president. How much is truth and how much is fiction is for the American public, the audience, to decide. But so far, Omarosa’s down in the count.
• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at email@example.com or on Twitter, @ckchumley.
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