Just hours before the first night of the Republican National Convention, Donald Trump appointed Apprentice villain Theresa “Omarosa” Manigault as his director of African-American outreach. Don’t be surprised if that sounds like the draft of a tweet you once wrote but then deemed too ridiculous for publication—in Donald Trump’s America, any joke you casually tweeted in 2015 is doomed to become a reality. Twelve months ago, the thought of a Donald Trump presidency, let alone a triumphant Scott Baio comeback, would be an easy punchline; now Trump’s the face of the GOP and Chachi’s having the last laugh.
The newly-engaged Omarosa’s appointment, and her subsequent turn as an anti-Hillary “foreign policy expert” at this week’s DNC in Philly (really), is a fascinating development in Trump’s inadvertent campaign to Make America Satire Again. This is a woman who Donald Trump has personally fired three times on various seasons of The Apprentice. In addition to starring on a myriad of reality TV shows, Manigault’s credentials include a Ph.D. in communications, a preacher’s license, and topping the TV Guide’s list of greatest reality TV villains in 2008.
In 2003, Manigault ascended to a new level of controversy in the wake of her fiancé Michael Clarke Duncan’s death. When the actor was rushed to the hospital after a heart attack, media reports suggested that Omarosa had tried to save his life by performing CPR. But Duncan’s family paints a very different picture of Manigault; his sister, Judy Duncan, claims that Omarosa unduly influenced the Green Mile star into re-writing his will just months before he died. She insists that Duncan was not of sound mind when he updated the will, leaving almost everything to Omarosa. Judy adds that her suspicions intensified once Duncan was hospitalized, alleging that Omarosa was fixated on her fiancé’s funds while he was on life support. Judy’s final complaint was Manigault’s mismanaging of Duncan’s estate; apparently, The Apprentice alum sold off a good deal of his personal effects—including awards, watches, and cars—without informing the family first.
While the 42-year-old’s public antics—such as pouring a glass of wine on Piers Morgan’s head (OK, props for that) and calling CNN’s Don Lemon a “queen”—are well-documented, her past life as a failed political consultant remains woefully underreported.
The former “die-hard” Democrat actually worked at the White House during the Clinton administration, where she was banished from four jobs in only two years. Omarosa’s first White House gig was answering invitations for Vice President Al Gore. Like a true reality TV D-lister, Manigault made it clear that she wasn’t there to make friends. According to a former Gore staffer, “she didn’t do her job, and it got everybody in trouble.” In the past, The Apprentice star has bragged about her job doing “logistics and advance and event planning for the White House under the Gore staff.” As can only be expected from a Trump protégé, this statement lands somewhere between gross exaggeration and bald-faced lie—as a scheduling correspondent, the 23-year-old’s entire job was responding to invitations. Plus, she was horrible at it. Manigault was promptly transferred to a new position in Commerce, which she quickly lost “because she couldn’t get along with people.” At her last White House gig, “she was asked to leave as quickly as possible, she was so disruptive,” according to Cheryl Shavers, the former Under Secretary for Technology at the Commerce Department. “One woman wanted to slug her.”
While her ability to inspire catfights eventually served Omarosa well, it disqualified her from a successful career within the Clinton administration. Luckily, if Donald Trump’s RNC lineup and life story have taught us anything, it’s that the only thing looser than his definition of “celebrity” is his definition of “qualified.” Hence the appointment of Omarosa, a former reality TV star, to a legitimate post with real stakes and responsibilities. Concerned African-American Trump supporters (lol) will be comforted by the fact that Manigault has actually been campaigning on behalf of Trump for some time. While stumping for Trump during a live television segment, Omarosa dissed Fox panelist Tamara Holder’s pronunciation of her name, then proceeded to mock her “big boobs.”
Additionally, for the past six months she’s served as a board member on the National Diversity Coalition for Trump. After half a year of sitting in conference rooms alone and talking to herself, we imagine that Manigault is more than ready to take her unpopular endorsement to the people. Dr. Ben Carson, a man who is so knowledgeable about black outreach that he once made a rap campaign ad, has already given the Girls Behaving Badly alum a glowing endorsement: “I’ve only had an opportunity to talk to her a few times but I am very pleased. I think she’s done a good job.”
Donald’s new director of African-American outreach is set to replace his tanning bed as the hardest-working member of Trump’s team. It’s no secret that black voters, who are historically left-leaning, are not fans of Donald Trump. A recent survey showed the Donald polling at zero percent with African-American voters in the swing states of Ohio and Pennsylvania. As a point of comparison, Mitt Romney got 6 percent of the black vote in 2012 running against the reelection of the nation’s first black president.
If all that wasn’t dire enough, Omarosa herself is currently registered as “undeclared,” and expressed doubts about voting for Trump as recently as September 2015. It makes sense that Donald Trump couldn’t find a single black Republican to head up his African-American outreach. Back in May, 76 percent of black conservatives and 61 percent of black Tea Party affiliates expressed unfavorable views of Trump. And when The New York Times asked former Secretary of State Colin Powell about this year’s convention, he simply emailed, “Haven’t been watching.” In a way, Omarosa’s new gig is just another reason for black people to distrust Trump—even if you’re Donald Trump’s one and only black friend, he’ll still screw you over with a thankless, futile political appointment.
If we learned one thing from Trump’s RNC aka “things racist white people like” convention, it’s that the real estate mogul’s America would be an ugly, scary place for women, immigrants, minorities, and LGBTQ folks. You know, “sub-groups.” If you fit into this category and the RNC didn’t have you reaching for an XXL bottle of Trump chardonnay, then you weren’t watching closely enough.
Interestingly, Omarosa is completely unfazed by her candidate’s complete and utter lack of minority appeal. She’s accomplished this feat through a level of self-delusion that can only be described as Trumpian. According to Manigault, “My reality is that I’m surrounded by people who want to see Donald Trump as the next president of the United States who are African-American.” The fact that his director of African-American outreach lives in an alternate reality is actually the most logical news we’ve heard from Donald Trump’s camp in quite some time.