Three Implications from the Omarosa Tapes

by John English

Omarosa Manigault Newman, bearing a name that sounds concocted by a pretentious author, started in the spotlight by being the most memorable contestant from Season 1 of NBC’s The Apprentice. She returned for a couple more seasons and has done work here and there for Donald Trump ever since. After his shock election victory, Trump kept Omarosa, giving her a trusted position in the West Wing. She was unceremoniously dismissed last year, and one of her first gigs was appearing on another reality show (Celebrity Big Brother).

Master of making headlines, she spoke on that show about how Trump is declining mentally. It helped with CBS’s ratings, but it also planted the seeds for her planned book, now titled Unhinged. In it, she details her view of Trump’s racism and erratic behavior. But, since she is one of the least trustworthy witnesses possible, she has tapes. What are the implications?

  1. National Security – This is the most important implication. She was able to record private conversations in the West Wing and the Situation Room. If she could do it, what foreign leaders or diplomats were able to do the same thing? Have hackers from Russia or China or general bad-actor cells been able to hack her phone? The phones of others? Now, how much dirt does Russia have on this administration?
  2. Do the “n-word tapes” exist? – Omarosa is famous for being a backstabbing liar on her reality shows, so she needs to have something to back up what she says. These tapes show that she can support some of her claims. I did find it funny how Meet the Press’s Chuck Todd was pushing Omarosa on whether she had heard the rumored N-word tapes. She said she hadn’t in her book, but she told NPR she had heard them. Here’s the thing: why is an NBC employee asking her when those tapes should be in NBC’s vault? There must be something in Mark Burnett’s contract that forbids NBC from combing for those Apprentice unused tapes. And if the tapes exist, would they affect anything? We can’t take her word for it she heard the tape.
  3. Liar vs. Liar – Sarah Sanders, Kellyanne Conway, and others have put out statements about how dishonest Omarosa is. Yes, we know. But she’s just the latest in a long line of formerly trusted Trump advisers and employees (remember his promise of hiring the “best people”?) who are getting trashed as though they’ve been untrustworthy the whole time. I recall Rudy Giuliani’s dismissal of Michael Cohen as someone who’s lied his whole life. Then why was he Trump’s fixer for 20 years if he’s so dishonest? Hey, he has tapes too.

If more recordings come out, there will be more implications. Yes, Omarosa is one liar accusing other liars of lying. But this time she at least has a little bit of evidence on her side.

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