Author Michael Arceneaux explains the racist and sexist implications of Donald Trump’s “dog” tweet about Omarosa Manigault Newman.
Omarosa Manigault Newman ain’t exactly my favorite person.
Not that she has to be nice, but there is a specific meanness to Omarosa. It’s a trait she shrewdly exploited by becoming a person whose first name alone identifies her to the masses—a level of fame largely crafted by her leaning into the role of television villain on The Apprentice. And, of course, she has an obvious opportunistic streak. She continues to claim that her motivation for taking a job in Trump’s White House was to ensure the Black community had a “seat at the table.” But given that much of the policies and rhetoric from the Trump administration recall a burning cross, it’s difficult for any reasonable person—particularly if they are Black—to find her acting in any fashion beyond self-interest.
Speaking with theGrio, Omarosa was asked if she felt that she’d achieved the goals she set forth on behalf of the Black community. “In some ways, I came up short,” she answered. This response is akin to someone asking me if my attempt at the Keto diet was still going strong, and I answer them with a picture of me swimming inside a pool of Popeyes biscuits. But in addition to sinisterism, Omarosa’s gifts also include manipulating the media and always finding a way to flip the narrative in her favor.
Such skill set is often attributed to her former co-star and mentor, President Trump—though as we have seen in the tweets, Sweet Potato Saddam is not at all happy with his former protégé.
You know, I typically don’t like to speak for Black folks as if I am the Prime Minister of Black people because it’s very Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, back when the media treated them like they were the Brandy and Monica or Ja Rule and Ashanti of civil rights. But I am confident when I say that Black people by and large do not rock with Omarosa. She is that cousin who still might get invited to our functions, but will likely be told the wrong time—say when all of the food and most of the liquor is gone. Aligning herself with Trump is a betrayal. The man is a racist and no one believes her when she acts as if she magically discovered this because she allegedly heard him say “n—-r.” She knew he was a racist beforehand; we all did.
That being said, I found myself infuriated by Trump referring to Omarosa Manigault Newman as a “dog.”
True enough, Trump has a history of referring to rivals as “dogs,” which is rooted in his noted disdain of Scooby and Scrappy. But racism and sexism emanates from the tweet. What else can you get from, “When you give a crazed, crying lowlife a break?”
You don’t have to like Omarosa to believe she does not deserve to be described as a “dog” or “lowlife.”
This indecent, ignorant, bigoted man continues to debase the office of the presidency with his rhetoric and with one new low after another. Omarosa is just the latest target, but there is always a noticeable level of additional callousness leveraged at women—especially Black women.
Although I hate the notion of a Black woman being referred to as a dog by the President of the United States, I do wonder where Omarosa’s head is. Has she learned anything? Like, say, not leaning her Black self to the political ambitions of a racist? Based on her interviews, I doubt it. Give her all the kudos for garnering as much media attention as possible for her book by answering interview questions like the star of the three-part reunion for The Real Housewives of White Supremacy—but was any of this worth it?
Omarosa once claimed that Trump haters would have to “bow down” to him, and in the end, he dismisses her as a “dog.” Perhaps she thinks the lesson here is to beat folks at their own game, but from this viewpoint, all she did was play herself. Omarosa is nobody’s “dog,” but she was foolish to ever attach herself to someone who had the potential to say such a thing.
Michael Arceneaux is the New York Times bestselling author of the newly released book I Can’t Date Jesus from Atria Books/Simon & Schuster. His work has appeared in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Rolling Stone, Essence, The Guardian, Mic, and more. Follow him on Twitter.