From the Weekly Standard:
With apologies to Dorothy Parker: What fresh hell is this?
Even in a presidency that has become a series of bizarre moments, this week seems to mark a milestone of sorts. On Tuesday, a White House briefing about Omarosa Manigault Newman was interrupted, if only briefly, by a question about ISIS, an actual war we are fighting in the real world. But it quickly reverted back to the reality-star-turned-White-House-aide’s latest allegations and the president’s tweets about her—because we all live in Trump’s World now.
The New York Times’s Michelle Goldberg described Omarosa, the “reality show villain who campaigned for Donald Trump and followed him into the White House,” as “an amoral, dishonest, mercenary grifter. This makes her just like most people in Trump’s orbit. What separates her from them is that she might be capable of a sliver of shame.”
Goldberg ought to have stopped at “grifter.”
Yes, she has tapes, but Omarosa is not the conscience of this White House or a political universe in which shame has been beaten to death with hammers.
To the extent we are riveted by this strange saga, it’s not because Omarosa is credible, because she isn’t. Are there tapes of the president using the N-word? Who knows? And would it matter? We already have tapes of the president bragging about p---- grabbing, and we know how that played out. Nor would the tape answer questions about the president’s racial attitudes, which are already pretty much a matter of public record.
Prudence dictates not taking Omaraosa’s word for it. Or for anything. And yet, accompanied by an entourage of stylists, publicists, and security guards as she moves from one cable show to another, Omarosa is starring in her own Trumpian reality show again.
Which makes all this a quintessentially Trumpian moment: Along with Roger Stone, Corey Lewandowski, Paul Manafort, Seb Gorka, Rick Gates, Steve Bannon, Anthony Scaramucci (I could go on), Trump has surrounded himself with a parade of misfits, mediocrities, castoffs, crooks, and cretins from central casting. Each in their way reflect the man who sits in the Oval Office—emanations of his worldview and the moral universe he has shaped around him.
Donald Trump is a chronic liar who has surrounded himself, not surprisingly, with chronic liars. And the exquisite irony of this moment is that they are now all turning on one another.
In this bizarre simulation, we are now asked to weigh the credibility of Omarosa against that of, say, Katrina Pierson, or Sarah Sanders, whose own relationships with the truth seem to have taken on the coloration of their proximity to Trump. In the Age of Trump, everything trends toward absurdity.
And of course there are the tweets. As the man who sits in the office once held by Abraham Lincoln referred to his former aide as a "low life" and a "dog."
The reference to Omaraosa as a “dog,” is not racist, Sanders helpfully explained, because the president insulted lots of folks with his stunted vocabulary of abuse. (Indeed, during the campaign, then-candidate Trump also called me a “lowlife,” but not, as far as I know, a dog.)
There’s more, because there always is. Trump noted that people in White House hated Omarosa, who he said was “vicious, but not smart.” He explained that he kept her on the job ”because she only said GREAT things about me - until she got fired!”
In other words, she was incompetent, dishonest, and disliked, but because she fawned on him Trump gave her a $179,700 per year, taxpayer-funded job as a senior White House aide.
What a surprise that it ended badly. What is, however, mildly surprising is that Trump himself is surprised. Omarosa turned out to be exactly who she was on The Apprentice.
An added irony: At his rallies, Trump often recites a poem about a snake.
Intended as a warning about immigration, the story takes on a differently meaning in light of the week’s developments. In the poem, the snake is rescued by a tender-hearted woman.
Now she clutched him to her bosom, “You're so beautiful,” she cried
“But if I hadn't brought you in by now you might have died”
Now she stroked his pretty skin and then she kissed and held him tight
But instead of saying thanks, that snake gave her a vicious bite
… “I saved you,” cried that woman
“And you've bit me even, why?
You know your bite is poisonous and now I'm going to die”
“Oh shut up, silly woman,” said the reptile with a grin
“You knew damn well I was a snake before you took me in …”
Who knew Donald Trump could be so naïve?