Although the election was more than a year ago now, it still feels odd to me to hear “President Donald Trump,” in the same way it’d be odd to hear “German Chancellor Heidi Klum” or “United Nations Secretary General Jeff Probst.”
Yet it’s somehow less odd to be reminded taht one of Trump’s former Apprentice contestants—an early reality TV villain—is working in the White House. That’s because Omarosa Manigault previously worked in the White House, for Vice President Al Gore, and then in the Clinton administration’s Commerce department, so this isn’t new territory for her.
She wasn’t exactly a star back then; Omarosa “was asked to leave as quickly as possible, she was so disruptive,” a former administration official told People in 2004, while another Gore staff member said “she didn’t do her job, and it got everybody in trouble.”
Today, Omarosa is the “assistant to the president and director of communications for the office of public liaison” and receives $179,700 a year for that work, according to a report from the White House listing all office personnel.
No one makes more than Omarosa, though several people do make the same amount, including “deputy national security advisor for strategy” Dina Powell.
So what does the office of the public liaison do? Politico reports that “It functions mainly to cultivate outside support for the president’s agenda, working with business, religious and other groups to garner support” and “staff sets up events in the White House for community groups like veterans associations and special honorees, attends conferences and events to promote the president and works to create outside political and civic campaigns.”
In that same story, Politico reports that Omarosa brought her wedding party to the the White House for a photo shoot, which surprised White House officials, who banned Omarosa from publishing those photos online.
And it “did little to help the reputation of the Office of Public Liaison, seen by some White House officials as one of the most unruly and under-utilized operations in the West Wing, according to eight current and former White House officials and advisers,” Politico says, adding that “the office has floundered for months.”
A morning with Omarosa
So what does Omarosa do for her $179,700 besides directing a “floundering” office?
Elaina Plott went to interview Omarosa at the White House back in March, and her recently published Daily Beast story is a must-read: as comedic as it is informative.
Their hour-long interview was initially cut short to just 15 minutes by Omarosa, who instead suggested Plott shadow her: “You can see me in action,” Omarosa said.
So here is what Omarosa in action looks like:
“It’s tough to sneak in a question to Omarosa—about her job, her life, her goals, about where exactly we are heading at this precise moment—because we are always walking, quickly and seemingly aimlessly across the West Wing, and in and out of rooms at the [Eisenhower Executive Office Building]. At some point we are looking for a certain Josh, though we don’t ever locate him, and I never find out why he’s needed. As we knock on the door to one office, she finally muffles an answer as to what we’re doing: ‘… the faith communities, does anyone need to be blessed…'”
Read the full story. After all, fellow Americans, this is our government.