On Tuesday, a typical, but no less still unnecessarily combative, Omarosa Manigault spoke with MSNBC’s Thomas Roberts about her role in the orgy of audacious idiocy and political amateurism known as the Donald J. Trump for President campaign.
As Omarosa spoke very seriously about an unserious person, I noticed that she was listed as the "Vice Chair of Donald Trump’s National Diversity Coalition." Who knew such a thing existed? After I stopped laughing, I watched a noticeably ticked off Omarosa shoo, shoo away Roberts’ question about her referring to herself as Trump’s “Valerie Jarrett” in a Washington Post interview that ran earlier this month.
Omarosa claimed that the statement was “paraphrased,” but what sticks out most about that interview is the logic she employed to validate her involvement in Trump’s increasingly polarizing campaign.
Although Trump spokeswoman Hope Hicks says that Omarosa “doesn’t represent the campaign in an official capacity,” she is undoubtedly one of Trump's strongest surrogates. So why would a black woman voluntarily speak on behalf of the political ambitions of a man whose ideology is marinated in at least three forms of bigotry? According to Omarosa, “I’m the person who pulls him back when he goes too far.”
Since anyone paying attention can confirm that that is not going especially well, again, why be a part of this campaign in any fashion?
Omarosa says that while she can elect to leave “the room,” i.e., the place where key decisions for the campaign are made, there is a reason she sticks around. To Omarosa, “anyone that thinks we don’t need to be in those rooms is naive.” It takes a lot of confidence to speak in condescension, but confidence alone doesn’t make dubious statements any more convincing than they actually are.
To her credit, Omarosa is quite adept at sounding as if actions done out of self-interest are rooted in principle. In this instance, that would be the belief that Donald J. Trump would make a capable president and that she’s involved to make sure he places his best foot forward in convincing a skeptical public of that reality.
Unfortunately, I am not one who has ever fallen for the GOP illusion that businesspeople are uniquely qualified to hold elected office. However, even if Omarosa did genuinely believe that Trump would make a better president than Hillary Rodham Clinton, her statement is rooted in a belief that being present matters more than it has largely ever proved to be with Republicans.
That’s why Omarosa’s assertions are not particularly new. There are plenty of blacks, Latinos, women and members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community who work with Republicans who would make the same argument. However, what did Michael Steele’s run as the head of the Republican National Committee do as far as getting Republicans to be more respectful toward black voters? It certainly did not get the bulk of them in Congress to have any more urgency in restoring the Voting Rights Act. Likewise, it did not get many Republicans to skip the bad habit of being grossly disrespectful to our nation’s first black president.
When it comes to women’s rights, the GOP gets an F. Actually, the party gets an F and a U, but you get it. The same grade is assigned for its record on LGBT rights, though oddly enough, Trump is arguably the most progressive Republican presidential candidate regarding the LGBT community by the very low barometer that is merely acknowledging us without complete contempt. As for Latinos, the bulk of the Republican Party has worked to actively thwart immigration reform for years. Couple that with Republican primary voters electing a man who wants to build a “big, beautiful wall” along the Mexican border, and sorry to inform Latino Republicans, but they don’t love ya, girl.
So, if there is any naivete to be found in Omarosa’s sentiment about being Team Trump, it is with her. Let’s be very clear that if Trump manages to become our next president, she will likely secure some role in his administration. That may be awesome for her LinkedIn profile, but it is not proof that being in “those rooms” is imperative. In theory, minorities should hold influential roles in every political party. Still, although the Democratic Party is by no means a complete friend to racial minorities, that does not negate the fact that when it comes to the Grand Old Party, it doesn’t give the slightest damn about us, and our simply being around does not change things.
This is a party that actively tries to stop black people from voting. This is a party that has long dabbled in racism for the sake of securing and preserving power. This is a party that has reveled in the support of old white people. Omarosa may be in “the room,” but the room is largely populated by other white people catering to the political goals of a racist white man who is using demagoguery to try to become the 45th president of the United States of America.
If Trump were actually willing to be less offensive to racial minorities and Muslims, then perhaps Omarosa's line of reasoning would hold some validity. Unfortunately, he is not and is nothing more than a louder version of the GOP’s penchant for bigotry. So, ultimately, what good is being in a room of folks who really don’t value you and those like you?
Michael Arceneaux hails from Houston, lives in Harlem and praises Beyoncé’s name wherever he goes. Follow him on Twitter.