FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Omarosa Manigault Newman, Public Servant

Between her new “tell-all” book and her use of taped conversations to promote it, Omarosa Manigault Newman (former “Assistant to the President and Director of Communications for the Office of Public Liaison”) has the White House in a tizzy.

President Donald Trump publicly refers to her as a “crazed, crying lowlife” and a “dog.” There’s quite a bit of pearl-clutching over one recording which seems to have been made in the White House Situation Room, where some of the government’s most secret stuff gets discussed.

All of which is par for the course in Trump’s America.

I can understand why some people were surprised when a reality TV personality got elected president.

I can understand why some people were surprised when that reality TV personality president hired another reality TV personality (in fact, someone he had twice reality-TV-“fired”) to work at the White House.

What I can’t understand is why anyone would expect two reality TV personalities to stop acting like reality TV personalities just because their new show broadcasts from a new set at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

Is there a serious side at all to these made-for-reality-TV melodramatics? Yes. The Trump campaign organization has invoked the arbitration clause of its non-disclosure agreement versus Omarosa, and rumors (stoked by Trump, presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway, and others) imply another NDA specific to her White House employment but generalized beyond the bounds of protecting classified information.

Exposing the likely existence of that second NDA, along with hopefully successfully defying it, makes Omarosa the current front-runner for the title of “Best, Maybe Even Only, Public Servant Produced by the Trump Administration.”

The sustaining fiction of American government is that citizens and taxpayers are the real employers — the ultimate bosses — and that even the top-most government employees are answerable to us.

Fictions like that can only be stretched so far. The idea that Donald Trump can legally interpose himself between Omarosa’s desire to dish on White House life and our desire to listen to her do so stretches this particular tale to the breaking point. A shift manager at McDonald’s doesn’t get to swear the cooks and cashiers to silence should the corporation’s CEO happen along with questions for them.

If it was up to me, the Oval Office and the entire West Wing of the White House would be covered 24/7 by publicly accessible live-streaming web cameras. THEY claim to work for US, remember? The employees don’t get to hide from the employers. What they do on the clock, and how they do it, is our business, not their privileged secret.

Of course, it’s not up to me, and the fiction will likely survive even without turning the White House into an uncut (and probably even more boring) version of Big Brother or Keeping Up With the Kardashians. But Omarosa’s book and its promotion campaign are turning into a much-needed test case for just how far from transparency the executive branch can go without the public, and possibly the courts, finally putting our feet down.

More articles by:

Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

Weekend Edition
April 19, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Andrew Levine
What Will It Take For Trump to Get His Due?
Roy Eidelson
Is the American Psychological Association Addicted to Militarism and War?
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Time is Blind, Man is Stupid
Joshua Frank
Top 20 Mueller Report “Findings”
Rob Urie
Why Russiagate Will Never Go Away
Paul Street
Stephen Moore Gets Something Right: It’s Capitalism vs. Democracy
Russell Mokhiber
Why Boeing and Its Executives Should be Prosecuted for Manslaughter
T.J. Coles
The Battle for Latin America: How the U.S. Helped Destroy the “Pink Tide”
Ron Jacobs
Ho Chi Minh City: Nguyen Thai Binh Street
Dean Baker
Fun Fictions in Economics
David Rosen
Trump’s One-Dimensional Gender Identity
Kenn Orphan
Notre Dame: We Have Always Belonged to Her
Robert Hunziker
The Blue Ocean Event and Collapsing Ecosystems
Theodore C. Van Alst, Jr.
Paddy Wagon
Brett Wilkins
Jimmy Carter: US ‘Most Warlike Nation in History of the World’
John W. Whitehead
From Jesus Christ to Julian Assange: When Dissidents Become Enemies of the State
Nick Pemberton
To Never Forget or Never Remember
Stephen Cooper
My Unforgettable College Stabbings
Louis Proyect
A Leftist Rejoinder to the “Capitalist Miracle”
Louisa Willcox
Aldo Leopold’s Land Ethic and the Need for a New Approach to Managing Wildlife
Brian Cloughley
Britain Shakes a Futile Fist and Germany Behaves Sensibly
Jessicah Pierre
A Revolutionary Idea to Close the Racial Wealth Divide
George Burchett
Revolutionary Journalism
Dan Bacher
U.S. Senate Confirms Oil Lobbyist David Bernhardt as Interior Secretary
Nicky Reid
The Strange Success of Russiagate
Chris Gilbert
Defending Venezuela: Two Approaches
Todd Larsen
The Planetary Cost of Amazon’s Convenience
Kelly Martin
How the White House is Spinning Earth Day
Nino Pagliccia
Cuba and Venezuela: Killing Two Birds With a Stone
Matthew Stevenson
Pacific Odyssey: Guadalcanal and Bloody Ridge, Solomon Islands
David Kattenburg
Trudeau’s Long Winter
Gary Olson
A Few Comments on the recent PBS Series: Reconstruction: America After the Civil War
Ellen Lindeen
What Does it Mean to Teach Peace?
Adewale Maye and Eileen Appelbaum
Paid Family and Medical Leave: a Bargain Even Low-Wage Workers Can Afford
Ramzy Baroud
War Versus Peace: Israel Has Decided and So Should We
Ann Garrison
Vets for Peace to Barbara Lee: Support Manning and Assange
Thomas Knapp
The Mueller Report Changed my Mind on Term Limits
Jill Richardson
Why is Going Green So Hard? Because the System Isn’t
Mallika Khanna
The Greenwashing of Earth Day
Arshad Khan
Do the Harmless Pangolins Have to Become Extinct?
Paul Armentano
Pushing Marijuana Legalization Across the Finish Line
B. R. Gowani
Surreal Realities: Pelosi, Maneka Gandhi, Pompeo, Trump
Paul Buhle
Using the Law to Build a Socialist Society
David Yearsley
Call Saul
Elliot Sperber
Ecology Over Economy 
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail