You’re hired: Omarosa Manigault, former ‘arch-villain’ on The Apprentice, joins Trump administration as public liaison leader
Omarosa became an enthusiastic supporter of Trump’s presidential hopes and took charge of outreach to African American voters
Omarosa Manigault, the infamously combative contestant fired three times by Donald Trump on The Apprentice, has been hired, as she hint-predicted earlier, for a job in the Trump White House.
No one should be surprised, even though she’s a former Democrat and the epithet most often associated with her is “the arch-villain of Season One”.
Smart, sharp and loyal to president-elect Trump, Omarosa, 42, made it clear starting on November 8 that she expected to get a White House position. She was spotted at Trump Tower on Monday.
On election night, she told The Hollywood Reporter that Trump asked her if she was “ready to come with me to Washington.” A few days later, she tweeted a picture of herself with a poster of Trump. “My last briefing as senior adviser to #realDonaldTrump for campaign,” the caption read.
According to a statement on Wednesday by the Trump transition team announcing a group of 11 new hires, Omarosa is going to be focused on public outreach as an assistant to the president and director of communications for the Office of Public Liaison.
President Obama’s version is called the Office of Public Engagement, with a job description featuring idealistic verbiage about transparency and inclusion, listening to the public and bringing in new voices for the president to hear.
More practically, it’s the office that coordinates public speaking engagements for members of the administration and the executive office of the president.
In the Obama White House, that office was headed by Valerie Jarrett, his old friend and confidante from Chicago and one of the outgoing administration’s longest-serving power brokers. Jarrett was the person Omarosa compared herself to in describing her relationship to Trump even before he won in November.
As his biggest fan from the earliest Apprentice days, Omarosa became an enthusiastic supporter of his presidential hopes, took charge of outreach to African American voters, and joined the executive committee of the transition team that announced her hiring.
“As Donald says, I am his Valerie Jarrett,” said Manigault during a one-on-one-interview at a business conference for multicultural women back in June.
Omarosa has worked at the White House before, in the Clinton administration in the office of vice-president Al Gore. She’s a church pastor, possesses a PhD in communications, and is an undisputed self-marketing whiz. She is certainly the most famous previously unknown cast member to come out of The Apprentice.
But she’s also famous for clashing with practically everyone on the show at one time or another. Like Trump, she was often unfiltered, with little patience for anyone she considered a fool.
Among former contestants who know her, she gets mixed reviews. Kwame Jackson, who was the second-to-last-man standing on Season One, said appointing her to direct African American outreach is “like appointing Benedict Arnold to lead the Revolutionary Army”.
But she has her fans, besides the most important one, Trump himself.
“Omarosa grew up a fighter her entire life, she’s not going to back down,” said Bowie Hogg, 38, a conservative Texan Trump supporter who competed on Season One. “She’s always going to give her opinion; it’s one of her strengths and sometimes it can hurt her. She’s always prepared to be the villain.”