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White House

The Predictable Disasters That Unfold from the White House’s Hiring Decisions

(Reuters photo: Carlos Barria)

The midweek edition of the Morning Jolt features some surprisingly good poll numbers for President Trump and the Republicans; Democrats recoiling from the thought of using a familiar figure as a surrogate on the campaign trail in 2018; an unusual collection of guests at a 2013 dinner party that deserves more scrutiny, and some tough questions about one of the president’s worst hires:

The Predictable Disasters That Unfold from the White House’s Hiring Decisions

Last night, Piers Morgan appeared on Tucker Carlson’s show on Fox News and the pair lamented how awful Omarosa Manigault Newman was, and how terrible it was that she’s reinvented herself as an outraged former Trump staffer, revealing her disputes and disappointments behind the scenes at the White House.

“I don’t know why Donald Trump would ever let her in [the White House],” Morgan lamented. “She’s a reality television star whose only reason d’etre is to be a poisonous little viper spreading gossip and innuendo and terrorizing everyone in her way.”

What exactly was Omarosa doing in the White House during Trump’s first year? And… why was there no one around Trump to say, “hiring Omarosa to work in the White House is a terrible idea that will only lead to more problems down the road?” Or if someone did say that to Trump, why didn’t the president-elect listen?

Her title was “assistant to the president and director of communications for the Office of Public Liaison.” Most of her relevant public experience was on Trump’s reality shows. There’s always been ample evidence that her… understanding of the actual presidency was limited, declaring in  September 2016: ”Every critic, every detractor will have to bow down to President Trump. It’s everyone who’s ever doubted Donald, who ever disagreed, who ever challenged him. It is the ultimate revenge to become the most powerful man in the universe.” Yeah, that’s not really one of the enumerated powers of the presidency in the Constitution, ma’am.

Having jumped from a White House gig to… another reality show, she’s now appearing on camera and lamenting of Vice President Mike Pence, “I’m Christian, I love Jesus, but he thinks Jesus tells him to say things. I’m like, ‘Jesus didn’t say that.’ ”

That’s the sort of quote that goes in a future Republican presidential primary ad… for Pence. Your faith mileage may vary, but Pence’s belief that Jesus guides him towards the right decisions and words is not exactly wild or outlandish in Christian circles. Surely she’s seen the bumper stickers “God is my co-pilot” and “My other boss is a Jewish carpenter.”

Politico offered new details about the murky circumstances surrounding her dismissal.

“And in December, [White House Chief of Staff John Kelly] dismissed the former director of communications for the Office of Public Liaison, Omarosa Manigault Newman, who had been using the White House car service — known as “CARPET” — as an office pickup and drop-off service, something strictly forbidden by the federal government, according to three administration officials.

After Kelly dismissed her, Manigault Newman tried to storm the White House residence to appeal to Trump, according to one of the officials, accidentally tripping an electronic Secret Service wire that monitors entry and egress from the residence.

The White House did not respond to a request for comment about Manigault Newman’s departure.”

Some might argue that when you elect a reality show host as president, you’re going to get some reality show contestants working in the White House as part of the deal. But if you do that, you get a reality show dynamic: drama and backstabbing and infighting and clashing egos. And maybe you get great ratings. But you don’t do what a White House is supposed to do. White House jobs are not meant to be a stepping-stone on the road to fame. White House staffers are to be rarely seen or heard, beyond the communications staff and highest-level positions. The point is not to generate drama, but to minimize drama. A president wants the White House to be a well-oiled machine, foreseeing problems before they manifest, adeptly addressing them, staying on message, and enacting the president’s vision for governing. Does anyone feel like this has occurred much since January 20, 2017?

You can blame the staff and argue Trump is being poorly served, but in the end… he hired these people, or signed off on hiring them.

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