Book Review: Unhinged by Omarosa Manigault Newman

Since last week, all news channels have been on about the release of the Omarosa Manigault Newman memoir; Unhinged, and you know I had to get my hands on it. The former Assistant to the President and Director of Communications for the Office of Public Liaison has released another tell-all and Insider account of the Trump White House.

Omarosa first met Donald Trump when she was a contestant on his show; The Apprentice, and has worked with him on many projects and most recently her job with his administration in the White House. A lot has been said about this book in the media so this review will be in three parts.

THE INTERESTING BITS

Omarosa is Nigerian-American
Yes, she is our sister! Which, in my opinion, explains the drive and aggressive ambition this woman projects. It is definitely Nigerian. Argue with your WAEC certificate please. That “We die here” hustle spirit in her is genetic. In Chapter 2 she reveals that her dad, who was murdered was Nigerian and had named her Omarosa short for Omarosaonee”, which means “my beautiful child desired.”.  I’d like to find out what tribe in Nigeria bears this name. Certainly not Igbo or Yoruba? I’m guessing Bini (Benin, Edo State)? Any ideas?

Omarosa worshiped Donald Trump
To win on the apprentice she read his books, copied is mannerisms, played into his idiosyncrasies and lived for his praise and approval. Consequently, there were a lot of things she noticed and knew were wrong, and here, she admits she made excuses, and let them slide, conveniently classifying these occurrences as “Not My Business”. 

Looking the other way doesn’t make her any less culpable. However, coming from a desperately poor background, I can appreciate that it was easier, smarter and infinitely more profitable to have kept her focus on her career by minding her own business.

She Believed Trump Was Racial Not Racist
Omarosa suggest that over the time she has known Donald Trump, he has changed. She says that he was racial; using race, much like gender to create conflict or controversy as he did on seasons of the Apprentice.

“As I thought at the time, he is racial, though, in that he uses race and racial relations to manipulate people. I believed the birther movement stuff was opposition research, as he claimed, but it also had the purpose of riling up the Republican base of white voters. Trump’s racialization of illegal immigrants and his rhetoric about “building a wall” served the same goal. I believed then that Donald Trump was intentionally pitting races against each other for political gain, just as he’d pitted races against each other on The Apprentice for ratings.”

Whichever, racial or racist, Donald Trump is a malicious catalyst, and so making a distinction between either words doesn’t change the poor moral basis it rests on.

THE SHOCKING ALLEGATIONS

The N-Word Tape
Trump using the N-word is not hard for anyone to imagine if you have followed his presidency. I mean, he did refer to an African American athlete as a “son of a bitch” for kneeling during the National Anthem.  Omarosa says “Speculation about the N-word tape…I was highly doubtful that it existed… But in the year since, my mind was turning about the man I’d called a friend for almost fifteen years. I’d been loyal to him all this time, but if I had any proof that this tape was real, I would pack up my office and submit my resignation immediately”.

Reading this, I remember thinking “Sorry, I don’t believe you” and then she goes on to list all she had put up with to stay in Trump’s cult.

I’d had one foot out the door since the mishandling of the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017. And, in October, there was Trump’s insensitive condolence call with the widow of an Army Special Forces soldier killed in Niger, followed by Trump and Kelly’s racially charged attack on Representative Frederica Wilson who heard the call and told the press about it. Trump’s endorsement of Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore, a man who’d been accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women, only added insult to injury. The N-word tape would be the last “last straw” for me.

So why would the N-word tape be the “last last straw”? In my opinion, the N-word tape might not make much of a difference to the Trump administration. It would only confirm what the rest of the world already knew. The tape would be just another straw Omarosa would have put up with to maintain her privilege and proximity to power. Summarily, I’m not going to assume that this tape would have made Omarosa resign, not even if Donald Trump called her the N-word to her face.

General Kelly Blackmailing Omarosa

In the rush to get out of the White House after my meeting with Kelly, I left behind some very personal items: financial documents, a drive containing my wedding proofs, photos, gifts, cards, and most important, my commission certificate. According to an email from the White House counsel’s office, if I wanted to see my personal items again, I would have to sign a draconian departure nondisclosure agreement (NDA) about my time at the White House….At the time of this writing, General John Kelly is still holding my personal items hostage at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and advising the counsel’s office to harass me constantly.

Is this even legal? Trump’s presidency sounds a lot like the mafia.

THE NOT-SO-SHOCKING ALLEGATIONS

Donald Trump’s Mental Health
Much like Michael Wolff already said in his memoir Fire and Fury, Omarosa also states that President Donald Trump’s mental and physical health has degenerated over time. She suggests that earlier in their relationship, he was smart and energetic but now, he isn’t the brightest bulb in the room. Trump reads “at an eighth- or ninth-grade level”, and “never read from beginning to end any of the major pieces of legislation, policies or even some of these executive orders that he has signed”, repeats himself unnecessarily and has trouble keeping up with conversations.

Melania Protests Her Husband Through Her Outfits
Omarosa tells us that Melania is an amazing mother to her son and confirms that the first lady and her husband do not sleep in the same room. However, Omarosa supports the popular theory that Melania wore some clothes deliberately to embarrass her husband, some of which included the “pussy bow” blouse after the Access Hollywood tape was released, the “I REALLY DON’T CARE, DO U?”  Zara jacket she wore to Texas to meet immigrant children, and a white pantsuit to the State of the Union. You be the judge.

 

Related: Book Review on Fire and Fury 

Donald Trump’s Disturbing Relationship with His Children
Another thing Micheal Wolff already told us; Trump’s relationship with his children is quite unusual. Omarosa details Donald insulting his son and another time suggests that his son get “some nice ass” in the playboy mansion with his pregnant daughter in-law present. She also implies that his interaction with his daughter Ivanka is a little more than just a father-daughter relationship.

 During one long break, Gene and Donald engaged in language so profane, it would have raised eyebrows in prison. Donald asked Gene, “What do you think of Ivanka? How’s she doing?” What followed was a vile exchange, right in front of Ivanka, with Gene Simmons talking about her in a room full of people. While leering openly at her breasts, he said, “She’s a very, very sexy, desirable young woman who I’m looking forward to getting to know much better if you know what I mean, with all due respect.” Her father egged him on. Ivanka groaned dismissively and tried to get them to change subjects. I have to assume she’d been dealing with this her whole life and was used to it. Everyone else in the room was shocked, not by Gene’s language (we knew he was a disgusting pig), but by Donald’s obvious delight in hearing it. 

Very creepy.

Trump Had An Affair with a Pastor
Omarosa suggests she wasn’t able to run the Office of the Public Liaison because of Trump’s spiritual advisor, Paula White.  Then Omarosa was later told that White and Trump enjoyed a “special relationship.” Omarosa writes “I was not sure what to make of this,… But I could not stop myself from contemplating whether her position as spiritual advisor had ever been missionary.”

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Summarily, Trump’s administration has brought about a record number of book releases telling similar tales of lies and corruption in the White House. For Omarosa, this book is as much a tale of her life, childhood and personal tragedies as it is about her career, political experience and relationship with Donald Trump.

Do I believe her? Mostly. Some of her accusations are vague and I feel like her “awakening” is only triggered by the fact that she felt railroaded out of the White House and deserved better for her loyalty over the years, not because she genuinely realized how unhinged Trump is. However, others are specific and she has released tapes to back her story up. Yes, our sister is out here dropping tapes like singles from an upcoming album!

Is it a good read? Certainly. It is fast-paced and gripping, the prologue beginning with John Kelly inviting her to the Situation Room. Definitely a page-turner.

Should you go and buy it? Not really. It’s not a classic, it doesn’t say too much you don’t already know and in my humble opinion, this is not just to tell Omarosa’s story. It is a branding strategy to keep her name in the media with TV appearances and media coverage and ensure she is still marketable without Trump, while using him like all the other writers and books before hers.


Have you read Unhinged by Omarosa Manigault Newman? Let me know what you think in the comments!
As always, thank you for reading!

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