Omarosa, the White House, and Unending Personnel Controversy

For the last few days, former Trump advisor Omarosa Manigault-Newman has been making the rounds on television news. Ostensibly, her chief goal has been to promote the release of her newly-minted book, Unhinged: An Insider’s Account of the Trump White House.

However, and undoubtedly much to the dismay of senior White House staff, each and every day of the Unhinged book tour seems to mire the Trump Administration ever-deeper into controversy. Already, we’ve heard about the bizarre and widespread use of non-disclosure agreements, opinions arguing that the president is suffering a mental decline, and even an allegation that tapes exist in which the president had previously used racial slurs. Headline-capturing and provocative Fire and Fury-like tidbits aside, the most stunning Omarosa-related controversy centers on personnel management, of all things.

If you remember back to the campaign, you’ll undoubtedly recall Donald Trump routinely promising his supporters, and the nation, that he was going to stock his administration with only “the best people”. Now, less than two years into his first term, his administration has not only hemorrhaged it’s top-level staff, but some of these people, supposed confidants, have effectively “worn a wire” when speaking with the president.

Naturally, such personnel tumult, which seems more reminiscent of The Sopranos than The West Wing, begs the question of what actually qualifies one, like Omarosa, for placement within Trump’s “best people” group. Thankfully, we have tweets from the president himself which relieve us of the suspense. In his bombast, the president said Omarosa was “vicious, but not smart“, but continued, leaving the distinct impression that he only hired her because she “said great things” about him.

So there you have it, members of the executive branch’s ranking brain-trust are chosen according to the robustness of their flattery skills, not competence. I mean, what could possibly go wrong when the chief qualification to land a job in the White House is dedication to obsequiousness, not demonstrated ability.

For a man who fancies himself as possessing the traits of a mighty captain of industry, his management style appears to be more akin to that of a middling sales manager at an under-performing used car lot, than it does to John Rockefeller.