US President Donald J. Trump (R) speaks beside then Director of Communications for the Office of Public Liaison Omarosa Manigault-Newman (L) during a meeting on African American History Month in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, DC, USA, 01 February 2017.

Opinion: Trump and Omarosa, two peas in a pod

Condemn Donald Trump as harshly as you want for bringing an unstable reality-TV star like Omarosa onto the White House staff — he has earned every bit of that criticism and more.

Call her hiring irresponsible, because it was. Call it deeply disrespectful, because it’s that as well. Trump knew long ago — all of America knew — who and what Omarosa is. He knew from her “Apprentice” years that she was a grasping, conniving liar devoid of class or intellect; he knew that she cared only about herself, that her lust for celebrity would always override everything, that she treated rules as handicaps for those who were silly enough to abide by them. Her narrative arc has played out this way because given her character, it is the only way it could have played out — this script was written the moment she was cast.

But let’s also face a couple of home truths, people:

First, everything that Omarosa is, Trump is, and nobody knows that better than Trump himself. That’s in part why he has always been so fascinated by her and admiring of her. Even now, I suspect, some part of Trump grudgingly respects the publicity coup that she’s pulling off, even at his expense.

Second, and more important: Every single thing that you can say about the idiocy of Trump’s decision to hire Omarosa as a senior White House adviser — the terrible judgment it reflects, the lack of seriousness, the utter shamelessness of putting a reality-TV personality at the heart of American government — is also true of the decision by the American people to put Trump in the Oval Office.

The only thing different is the scale, which is a lot. In the Trump campaign and later in the White House, Omarosa was given job duties to minimize the damage she could wreak. In the campaign she was “director of African-American outreach,” a do-nothing job given how little such outreach existed. At the White House, she was supposedly “director of communications for the White House Office of Public Liaison,” charged again with outreach to a black community that largely saw her as an embarrassment. In that role, even an incompetent reality-TV star could not do more damage to Trump’s relationship to minorities than Trump himself did willingly and eagerly on an almost daily basis.

Unfortunately, there are no such bounds on the reality star that we’ve elected as president. We have handed Trump control of the nuclear football. He sets trade policy unilaterally, and has already ignited trade wars with much of the developed world. He sets foreign policy, and in that role has bowed to our enemies, undermined longstanding alliances and turned the United States into an international laughingstock. Through his appointment powers, he has put a generation of crooks and grifters into positions of influence, and his self-proclaimed genius at deal-making has been nowhere in evidence.

And on Tuesday, Trump continued his bid to single-handedly destroy the prestige and respect once enjoyed by the office of president of the United States of America. The man who occupies the office once held by Washington and Lincoln published a tweet publicly calling Omarosa “a crazed, crying lowlife” and thanking his chief of staff for “quickly firing that dog.”

Class, pure class. And as with Omarosa, none of this can be considered a surprise. We all knew beforehand who and what Trump was when we cast him in this starring role, and he has performed exactly as many predicted. The only problem is, he’s a lot harder to fire.

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