Bornet’s Book Review of “UnHinged” by Omarosa

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UNHINGED: An Insider’s Account of the Trump White House. By Omarosa Manigault Newman. 334 pages No Index. Not illustrated. New York City: Simon and Schuster.

A REVIEW BY VAUGHN DAVIS BORNET
Our reviewer, who’s produced reviews for learned journals since 1948, is at it again, as he did with Comey, Wolff, and two others focusing on the White House, back when. He wrote for us twice of Donald J. Trump (in January and June, 2016) as a candidate, obviously as a troubled observer. To repeat, our elderly one’s three degrees are from Emory, Georgia, and Stanford. Seldom, he says, does a book memoirist come to her/his self-assigned task with so much reason to be bitter. After all, OMAROSA’s many pleasant enough Trump years ended abruptly when fired in person by the Chief of Staff. ! Let’s see….

The provocative quotation following appears, alone, by itself, on the back jacket for everybody to read. You might as well: “He rambled. He spoke gibberish. He contradicted himself from one sentence to the next…. While watching that interview, I realized that something real and serious was going on in Donald’s brain. His mental decline could not be denied. Many didn’t notice it as keenly as I did because I knew him way back when. They thought Trump was being Trump, off the cuff. But I knew something wasn’t right.”
There’s an awful lot to quote in this book. The author is clearly a talented “African-American woman” and we are always aware of it. She is seldom relaxed, it seems; on the other hand, despite mood swings, she is capable of great joy now and then. We are reminded that two of her family members were shot dead early on; and she worries—and has cause, as mobs misbehave here and there in her pages, but not quite cover to cover.
The author is a beautiful woman of good posture, a veteran of The Apprentice for years, seldom unemployed if she wishes to have a job between various intermissions. (After being fired by the White House (sic) in chapter one, UNBELIEVABLY, in a day or two she is offered a huge salary by a Trump daughter to work on the 2020 campaign. For that day and time, at least, she says “no.”
Subtitle, “An Insider’s Account of the Trump White House,” but she is all over the place on content as we turn the pages: California, Ohio, Florida, NYC, downtown D. C. The start is dramatic: she’s abruptly FIRED, and not the way we might be. For Omarosa, it was off to the Situation Room with that Kelly soldier where there were threats, loudness, recrimination, replies, locked doors, hints of violence. After that beginning, we have no doubt that this experienced lady is important and her memory feared.
My book is marked up with big circles and “quote,” check marks, and “discuss.” This is a somewhat dramatic narrative, one to be taken seriously. One wishes the writer well,but there seems an aura of strain throughout, I thought.
This White House staff member, Omarosa, expected her life to improve Donald J. Trump’s standing on this planet. She comes to hate him at the end, and she worries about the destiny of our good Nation with him still in control. Let’s listen to misgivings: “…I knew without Keith [Shiller], the president would probably become unhinged.” 303 Again, “…Due to his lack of empathy and his narcissism…” And, “…I realized that something real and serious was going on in Donald’s brain. His mental decline could not be denied. Many in the White House didn’t notice it as keenly as I did because I knew him way back when. … I knew something wasn’t right.” What might be done? She came up with: “Declare a state of medical emergency?” 246
This was startling: “During one of my visits he asked, “Hey, Omarosa, what do you think about Comey? I had to let him go, right? He couldn’t be trusted; he was not loyal.” … She judges, “No one—and I mean not a single person, agreed with his decision.”244
Do read about Trump and his awareness of guns on page 240-241. She doesn’t think much of WH doctors (nor do I, from my LBJ book research). 242 That medical personnel, she says, gave out any pills to anybody. “All we had to do was ask.” Her 2nd wedding was “the happiest day of my life” not surprisingly.
From reading newspapers, we believe our leader disregards Briefings. Here, we read: “In our briefings, Trump’s attention was scattered. He was distracted, irritable, and short. Normally, when DJT got into one of these moods, you knew to give him time and space. But in this case I could not….” 217
Is his mind sharp and clear? She is sure about his mental deterioration and is articulate about both that, and “his racism.” 292-293 At one point, this reviewer came to think: NO. Don’t be quoting this to our public! He’s the President of the United States. Limit those quotations.
We never forget this book is by a black woman. It’s clear: “… white men who surrounded me….” “A white participant is given the benefit of the doubt; a black woman in the workplace never is, regardless of the circumstances.” 265 This book is about something called “the cult of Trumpworld.” [one word]
Here is one message conveyed: “…I was miserable at the White House. Morale was at an all-time low, and the environment was toxic. I realized that Donald Trump was the biggest distraction to his own presidency. Donald Trump, the individual, the person, because of who he is and what he stands for and how he operates, would always be the biggest hindrance for us. Donald Trump, who would attack civil rights icons and professional athletes, who would go after grieving black widows, who would say there were good people on both sides, who endorsed an accused child molester; Donald Trump, and his decisions and his behavior, was harming the country. I could no longer be a part of this madness.” 318-319
How, you may ask, does a “typical historian-reviewer” feel on emerging from this candid, observant, critical, worrisome, concerned, notable book? As it happens, I have written on our race relations in the past (I’m white), am familiar with three presidents to the point of really researching and writing about them, come close to despising our incumbent President, and have been hoping for the best. (That would be dumping that Trump by the wayside at the very soonest.)
On the other hand, Donald has been for years, after being handed immense startup money, unquestionably an entrepreneur, creator of useful hotels and golf courses, a family man, and a jovial entertainer of huge audiences. If I enjoyed all or any of those “Miss Bosom” programs he provided on TV, I really should thank him.
Still and all, I’m frightened by what I read in this book about DJT’s CASUAL, UNINFORMED, and IGNORANT “presidency.” Omarosa’s book , sure didn’t help my sense of well-being. As read along, I felt, well, awful. Examples of an unfit, almost uncaring, certainly inadequate, President kept showing up, over and over. I didn’t like the really staggering contrast with my earlier H.H., F.D.R, and L.B.J. obsession, surrounded as they were in office by brilliant, dedicated public servants who seldom resigned, listened obediently and unfailingly to briefings with consequences,, and spoke rationally and regularly to the man who chose them. Yes, they campaigned while in office, more or less, but they G O V E R N E D and mostly set aside their earlier occupation while in our employ.
Here we have a bright woman of 44 years. She filled a job called (unbelievably) Assistant to the President and Director of Communications for the Office of Public Liaison, all in Trump’s White House. (Earlier, she served in Clinton’s WH!) Back when, she strove beyond the MA at Howard University; was a military Reservist chaplain (sic), and is apparently an occasional minister with her active minister 2nd husband in Jacksonville, that is, when “between political jobs.”
She handles much work with one hand behind her. Her favorite activity, it seems, is striving to change the political mindset of a giant mass of black voters out there, changing it to firm support of her current politician whoever it is, and doing that whatever the cost or time-demand. One never-ending goal has been to advance her own personal popularity, her reputation, because it will surely help Donald J. Trump! Maintaining or enlarging his probable vote-count in the coming election has been her hope (in summary).
Candidate Trump after the end of the 2016 campaign was disturbing to Omarosa. “It was very concerning to listen to him go on and on about the election in private. He would get all worked up and get crazed about the ‘fake news’ reports. I was worried that in his first week [in the WH] he was already cracking under the pressure.” 210
Our book author casually mentions those 4,000 White House jobs to be filled way back when. It’s scary. Staff were to “back up whatever the President said or tweeted, regardless of its accuracy.”211 What level of employee would allow that? On page 228 she almost casually speaks of “paranoia” setting in. Wow. Later, she wonders as to a tweet, “Does he even realize he sent it?” Italics hers. 228, Omarosa ruminates happily, after Trump’s Victory speech, “That moment was one of the highlights of my life.” It had proved “how wonderful and great this country had been to me.” She was living the American dream, she proclaims. Those days for her long ago getting public assistance were Over! You bet! Back after Inauguration, the most powerful man on the planet was next to her, and she deeply reflects as to that: it was “the two of us on that stage together!”
It was many months –almost a year–before the room nicknamed the “WH Osama bin Laden death planning room” would be used to house a General employing it to FIRE an employee far below Cabinet level. It was December 12, 2018 when our Omarosa would be escorted there, threatened, with the door locked against her in that scary basement, maybe facing the spectacular glare of a square foot of long ago awarded gold braid on the chest of her nasty critic. She has been blurting: “I’m being railroaded!”
It all made me think of President Andrew Johnson’s turbulent administration, back when the Senate failed to convict by only one vote, despite impeachment by the House. Maybe I’ll read up on all that—to Be Prepared! This time, maybe seriously consider finishing what we start!

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