Unlike her former mentor, whose inelastic deceptions crumble under the slightest scrutiny, Omarosa Manigault Newman repays close reading. I don’t mean her book (haven’t read it). I mean the publicity tour she’s on, which has twin goals: selling books and carefully dismembering the administration she served until she was fired in January. As the White House reportedly roils in paranoiac anticipation, she may prove to be more effective at the latter than the former (whatever her motives). The former Apprentice contestant comes across as a younger, more vital, and more developed reality star than her former boss. She does not apologize. She acts in her own self-interest. And she is quite comfortable playing the villain if she needs to.
At this juncture, she’s opted to play turncoat to Trump’s circle. It’s a storyline that requires her to perform a kind of prodigal daughter script to the rest of the world, an awakening to her past mistakes. She’s done this with typical skill over the past week as she’s promoted her book. Her strategy is not to present as an innocent: The white outfit she wore to her NBC News interview was a blazer, and the yellow dress had some off-the-shoulder edge. “I was complicit within this White House [in] deceiving this nation,” she said. And while she claims that “being used by Donald Trump for so long” turned her into the proverbial frog boiling slowly to death, in the book she acknowledges her part: “Donald and I had a symbiotic relationship,” she writes, pre-empting the accusations she knew were coming. She intends her story, then, to be a redemption narrative.