Tuesday, February 13, 2018

What did Donald Trump do today?

He lashed out at a fired staffer who, until recently, he'd been full of good wishes for: Omarosa.

There were major developments in the metastasizing Rob Porter story today, with no less than the Trump-appointed director of the FBI flatly contradicting the White House's latest story about Porter's security clearance. But it was Omarosa Manigault-Newman, Trump's three-time Apprentice protégé, who was on the receiving end of a White House attack.

The White House leaked today that Manigault-Newman was fired in December for--as the story now goes--abusing her privileges with a government car service. This follows pointed comments made last week by Trump spokesperson Raj Shah: "Omarosa was fired three times on The Apprentice, and this is the fourth time we let her go. She had limited contact with the president while here, she has no contact now."

This marks a major change in Trump's tune. On the day her departure was announced, with Sarah Huckabee Sanders characterizing it as a voluntary resignation to "pursue other opportunities," Trump personally tweeted his warm wishes:
It's no mystery what is behind the change in Trump's story about Manigault-Newman's departure: she has been shopping a tell-all book to publishers, and has used her recent stint on yet another reality show (CBS' Celebrity Big Brother) to drop ominous hints about the horrors she witnessed. What is still unclear, months after the end of her White House tenure, is what she had been doing there in the first place. She was paid the maximum White House salary of $179,700--the only African-American out of 60 people in that salary tier--but what exactly her job as communications director for the White House Office of Public Liaison entailed has never been made clear.

Trump repeatedly promised on the campaign trail to hire "the best people."

Why does this matter?

  • It actually does matter if a president fails to hire "the best people," or at least competent people.
  • The presidency is not a reality show and must never be treated like one.
  • It's bad if the president can be baited this easily.