Trump World Experiences An Omarosa Earthquake

Omarosa Manigault Newman, who used to be a Trump favorite, is out with a book that makes sensationalistic claims about the Trump Administration. The real story, though, is what she has on tape and how she got it.

As we start the new week the biggest name in Trump World isn’t Special Counsel Robert Mueller, former Campaign Manager Paul Manafort, or even the President himself, instead it is Omarosa Manigault Newman. Manigault Newman, or “Omarosa” as she is more popularly known, is someone who has been a near-constant presence in Donald Trump’s world ever since showing up on the very first season of The Apprentice where she took on the persona of a devious, back-stabbing contestant who would do anything to advance her interests in the “game,” but who ultimately proved to be utterly incompetent in a leadership role. As a result, she was dismissed by Trump early in the first season and that was seemingly the end of her fifteen minutes of fame. In reality, that dismissal was just the beginning of her time in Trump’s orbit as she was brought back on several occasions on both The Apprentice and its sister show Celebrity Apprentice. When President Trump announced his bid for the Presidency, Omarosa somehow managed to get back on the inside, serving some unspecified role in the campaign that translated into an even more unspecified role in the Administration. 

In any case, Omarosa managed to say out of the media for most of the time she was at the White House, but she did manage to get into the headlines after engaging in activity that would seemingly have gotten other White House staffers fired instantly. It was reported, for example, that she utilized the car service provided by the White House to staffers for personal shopping trips, that she somehow managed to get her entire bridal party onto the grounds of the White House for photographs, and that she was among the small group of people along with Invaka Trump and Jared Kushner permitted “walk-in” access to the President without having to clear it through Chief of Staff John Kelly. By December of last year, though, her position inside the White House had deteriorated to the point where she was dismissed unceremoniously by Kelly and, reportedly, escorted out of the White House by the Secret Service.

Now Omarosa is out with a new book that makes a number of controversial claims about the President and, perhaps, more importantly, raises serious concerns about security inside this White House:

Omarosa Manigault Newman secretly taped John F. Kelly, the White House chief of staff, as he fired her in December in the Situation Room, a breach of security protocols, but one that revealed him suggesting that she could face damage to her reputation if she did not leave quietly.

The recording was played on Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” where Ms. Manigault Newman, a former adviser to President Trump, promoted her new book, “Unhinged.” In the memoir, which focuses on her relationship with Mr. Trump going back to her time on “The Apprentice,” she describes the world around the president as a cult in which he creates his own reality.

On the recording, Mr. Kelly says Ms. Manigault Newman could be facing “pretty significant legal issues” over what he alleged was misuse of a government car. She denied misusing it.

“I’d like to see this be a friendly departure,” Mr. Kelly says on the tape. “There are pretty significant legal issues that we hope don’t develop into something that, that’ll make it ugly for you.”

“But I think it’s important to understand,” he adds, “that if we make this a friendly departure, we can all be, you know, you can look at, look at your time here in, in the White House as a year of service to the nation. And then you can go on without any type of difficulty in the future relative to your reputation.”

Ms. Manigault Newman explained to Chuck Todd, the host of “Meet the Press,” that she recorded that conversation, as well as others that she has played for reporters and book publishers featuring her conversations with Mr. Trump, because “this is a White House where everybody lies.”

The Situation Room is supposed to be devoid of personal electronic devices, which signs outside the room make clear. Former national security officials said it was not clear whether Ms. Manigault Newman had broken any laws, but she certainly violated the rules around what is supposed to be one of the most secure rooms in the capital.

Privately, officials who worked with Ms. Manigault Newman said it was the type of damn-the-rules behavior that she had engaged in for months and which bothered many of her colleagues — but not Mr. Trump, who had to be cajoled into letting her be dismissed.

People close to the White House said that she was a difficult colleague and that despite complaining of being blackballed by Mr. Kelly, Ms. Manigault Newman had indicated to incoming West Wing staff during the transition that they could face bad press if they did not give her a prominent role. Even Mr. Trump had begun wearying of Ms. Manigault Newman’s omnipresence in meetings by the middle of his first year, those people said.

In a statement late Sunday, the White House press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, said, “The very idea a staff member would sneak a recording device into the White House Situation Room shows a blatant disregard for our national security — and then to brag about it on national television further proves the lack of character and integrity of this disgruntled former White House employee.”

No White House official offered an explanation for why Ms. Manigault Newman was hired in the first place if people had such concerns about her.

In addition to her appearance yesterday on Meet The Press, Manigault Newman also appeared on the Today show this morning during which she revealed another tape, this one of a conversation between herself and the President purportedly made the day after Kelly fired her:

Omarosa Manigault Newman, the former “Apprentice” contestant who became a White House aide, has provided an audio recording that she says is from 2017 and on which President Donald Trump expresses surprise that she’d been fired from his administration.

The tape, which was played exclusively Monday on “Today,” appears to show Trump having no idea that Newman had been dismissed by his Chief of Staff John Kelly.

“Omarosa? Omarosa what’s going on? I just saw on the news that you’re thinking about leaving? What happened?” Trump is heard saying on the tape, which Newman said was made one day after her termination in December 2017 when Trump called her.

Newman responds, “General Kelly—General Kelly came to me and said that you guys wanted me to leave.”

“No…I, I, Nobody even told me about it,” Trump replies.

Newman then says, “Wow,” before Trump reiterates his shock.

“You know they run a big operation, but I didn’t know it,” Trump is heard saying on the tape. “I didn’t know that. Goddamn it. I don’t love you leaving at all.”

NBC News does not know what was said before or after that exchange. The White House had no comment when asked about the exchange between Trump and Newman.

In a contentious interview on “Today,” after the audio recording was played, Newman accused Trump of lying to the American people and said he didn’t know what was going on within his own administration.

“He doesn’t even know what’s happening in his White House,” Newman said. “General Kelly, John Kelly is running this White House and Donald Trump has no clue what’s going on.”

“He’s being puppeted and that’s very dangerous for this nation,” she added.

Newman said she had known Trump “to be an entertainer — but I never thought he’d lie to the country.”

Manigault Newman has said she has other tapes, although it’s unclear who is on them, when they made, or how they were made and has also made the claim that she has heard tapes of Trump using racial epithets during the taping of The Apprentice and its sister show:

Newman’s disclosure of the recording came just one day after she told NBC’s “Meet the Press,” in an exclusive interview, that she has personally heard a tape of Trump using the N-word during filming for NBC’s “The Apprentice” — a revelation she says “confirmed that he is truly a racist.” Newman made the charge days before the release on Tuesday of her new book, “Unhinged: An Insider’s Account of the Trump White House.” In the book, Newman describes hearing about the tape but not hearing it herself. She said Sunday that she personally listened to it after her book had gone to press.

On Monday, she said there were “multiple tapes” but that the one she had described previously was an audio tape that was “about three minutes” long.

On it, Trump “was talking about some African-Americans in the production during the course of ‘The Apprentice.'”

Newman also alleged that the existence of the tape was known by top campaign aides back in 2016 and that a campaign spokesperson had said on a campaign conference call, “I have heard from a credible source that yes, he said it.”

Newman said Sunday she had “heard for two years that it existed, and once I heard it for myself, it was confirmed, what I feared the most: That Donald Trump is a con and has been masquerading as someone who is actually open to engaging with diverse communities.”

Not surprisingly, President Trump responded to Manigault Newman’s via Twitter

The question that the President’s comments raise, of course, is why he hired her to begin with if this is how he felt about her all along. This, after all, is the same person who said throughout his campaign for President that he would only hire the “best people” and who often praised Omarosa to the press and to others before this date. That, however, is a question for another day.

The contents of Manigault Newman’s book is what it is and will speak for itself, of course. Generally speaking, though, it strikes me that absent corroborating evidence, the allegations she makes, and she makes plenty about everything from those alleged racist remarks by the President to claims about the President’s mental state that are, to say the least, concerning, should be taken with a grain of salt. Ever since she first appeared in Trump’s orbit, this is a woman who has proven herself to be as much of a devious self-promoter as Trump himself and it seems clear that she has turned her back on him now in no small part because she sees an opportunity to make money off a Trump-bashing phenomena that has proven itself to be quite profitable. Indeed, if the Trump Administration is going to be concerned about the impact any book might have it ought to be most concerned about the book that The Washington Post’s Bob Woodward will be releasing next month that purportedly includes a host of his trademark interviews with people close to the President and reportedly paints a very grim picture of the Trump Administration and its operation.

That being said, while Omarosa’s book may not appear to amount to much, what she did raises serious security concerns that are leading the White House to attempt to find ways to prevent her from releasing any further audio tapes. If any of the material that Manigault Newman recorded is classified, which seems unlikely since she apparently did not have a security clearance, then they might have a shot at preventing publication of tapes that contain such information. As a general rule, though, the Federal Courts are reluctant to impose prior restraints on publication. Nonetheless, as Jennifer Rubin notes, this whole incident raises real concerns about how the White House is being run:

[I]t’s dangerous and reprehensible — and yet this White House invited her and scores of other irresponsible and unqualified people in and, apparently, no one picked up on the fact she was compromising security by taping top officials.  Now the White House needs to explains a whole bunch of things, starting with how she apparently managed to get a taping device into the Situation Room. (It’s fair to assume the White House has no idea what she taped and therefore is in the peculiar position of lacking access to basic information to assess which, if any, security rules she broke and whether legitimately classified material has been compromised.)

“The whole thing raises questions about this White House’s ability to handle security, and it highlights their dysfunctional personnel situation,” says former head of the Office of Government Ethics Walter Shaub. “It’s weird that [John] Kelly would take her into a secure facility just to tell her he’s firing her. Given that she’s only known as a reality TV star, it’s also weird that they hired her in the first place.”

The Omarosa story reminds us of the illegitimate measures the White House takes to silence employees. Attempting to muzzle employees and deny them their First Amendment rights as a condition of employment may be illegal; it is certainly illegitimate, yet another attempt to suppress facts and to treat employees of the taxpayers as Trump’s personal employees. These people work for us, the American people.

It would be a mistake to take Omarosa’s words (written or verbal) seriously. Indeed, this only trivializes the real concerns about the president’s fitness for office and the overall competence of the White House. Taking Omarosa’s accounts seriously in order to answer those inquiries would be foolish. She, however, did something that is news: surreptitiously tape high-level officials. The chaotic, unprofessional operation of the administration, hardly new but surely amplified by Omarosa, certainly is newsworthy. These are stories deserving of mainstream media coverage.

Rubin is exactly right, of course. While the headlines are likely to be full in the next several days about the many claims that Omarosa makes in her book about the operation of the White House and the fitness of the President, the real story here is why she was hired in the first place and how she was apparently able to get away with recording conservations with the White House Chief of Staff in what is supposed to be the most secure room in the nation’s capital and how she was able to get recordings of private conversations with the President both over the phone and, apparently, in person. As a matter of procedure, it’s supposed to be the case that people who meet with the President are required to give up their phones and any other electronics they may have in their position before entering the room where the meeting is to take place. Why that procedure wasn’t followed here, or why Kelly felt it necessary to meet with Manigault Newman in the Situation Room just to fire her, is entirely unclear, but it does make one wonder what else is going on in the halls of the West Wing, and who may be recording who at any given point in time.

FILED UNDER: National Security, Popular Culture, The Presidency, US Politics, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Slugger says:

    There is no question in my mind that it was ridiculous to let a reality show personality into the White House. Something stupid is inevitable.

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    (It’s fair to assume the White House has no idea what she taped and therefore is in the peculiar position of lacking access to basic information to assess which, if any, security rules she broke and whether legitimately classified material has been compromised.)

    Let me just start by saying, that the fact that she has no security clearance AND they are worried about what kind of classified material she may have on tape, it’s a pretty damn safe bet that classified material is compromised on a regular basis.

    But Hillary’s e-mails.

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    and who may be recording who at any given point in time.

    All of them, Katie.

  4. CSK says:

    Kelly may have fired her in the Situation Room because he assumed (incorrectly) that it was the one place even she wouldn’t bring a taping device.

  5. Michael Reynolds says:

    A scumbag president attracts scumbag enablers. Trump is freaking out because at some primitive level he understands that like him, Omarosa is a classic psychopath – a glib liar motivated solely by self-interest and powered by an instinct for finding weakness and exploiting it. She apparently terrified the pansies in the White House, very much including Trump himself as witness his mewling denial of responsibility for her firing. Once again we see just how weak Trump is. Weak and stupid.

  6. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    None of this is new. Just another “look, squirrel!!!” moment. As Reynolds said…once again we see how weak and stupid Dennison really is.
    But I just can’t stop thinking…if this idiot can go around taping willy-nilly within the White House, then what are China and Russia and Israel and other governments and organizations with motivated, trained, and experienced intelligence capabilities, able to do?
    The level of incompetence is awe-inspiring.

  7. Hal_10000 says:

    Glad I was on vacation and missed most of this story. Omarosa is a self-promoting pathological liar. Trump is a self-promoting pathological liar. There is nothing insightful, meaningful or useful that will come out of this. I’m just going to ignore them while they bite the heads off of chickens.

    Stay on target. Elections matter. Legislation matters. Omarosa does not.

  8. Kathy says:

    Oh, please. If they want to know what’s in those tapes, just ask Putin.

  9. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:


    Stay on target. Elections matter. Legislation matters. Omarosa does not.

    I was just going to make a similar comment:
    Over 500 kids are STILL separated from their families.
    Much of Puerto Rico is STILL without power.
    Flynt, MI STILL has shitty water.
    No progress has been made in NoKo.
    No progress has been made in Iran.
    No progress has been made in stopping Russian interference in our election process.
    Health care costs are going up faster.
    Gas prices are higher.
    Inflation is higher.
    Employment growth is slower.
    Wage growth is flat.
    GDP growth is, meh.
    And one washed up reality star is attacking another washed up reality star.
    Fvck…for all we know, this is choreographed…a la the WWE.

  10. Lounsbury says:

    @Hal_10000: Of course she matters if she can be used in a politically damaging way (although her being black relative to the core rabid Trump support diminishes the utility perhaps).

    Be high minded all you want, but you do indeed have elections to win and they are not won on high mindedness in general.

  11. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Hal_10000: @Daryl and his brother Darryl: @Lounsbury:

    In a war any tool you can use to inflict damage on the enemy is potentially useful. But it’s a question in this case of how you see the battlefield. Are we trying to sway the #Cult45 members? Pointless. Are we trying to sway the weak Trumpies? I think yes. And are we also keeping up enthusiasm from our allies? I think that’s another worthwhile goal. Does Omarosa help undermine the confidence of weak Trump voters and does she encourage the anti-Trump side? I think yes in both cases, therefore she is useful.

    I don’t buy the idea that Trump is somehow deliberately, strategically embracing distraction. I don’t think he’s capable of strategy, or of disciplining himself to speak and act in such a way as to advance a goal. We’re not seeing intellect at work, just instinct. Trump is being Trump. It’s all he’s got, he doesn’t have a second act. When he gets scared he lashes out. When he feels dissed he lashes out. He’s not playing chess, he’s not even playing checkers, he’s a cornered rat behaving the way cornered rats do.

  12. Michael Reynolds says:

    Mods, queue rescue bitte schön.

  13. KM says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl :

    Fvck…for all we know, this is choreographed…a la the WWE.

    It’s an exceptionally dangerous one if it is. The WH is essentially admitting it has no idea who’s spying on whom at any given time in it’s walls and what sensitive info is up for grabs. Republicans willing to give Trump a pass on a lot might think twice if they see that any idiot can get whatever dirt they want easily. It’s really hard to be seen as the Alpha Male when you can’t control your pack.

    Frankly, even if this did turn out to be some shitty kayfabe, it’s going to prompt some of his frenemies to see what they can get and his foes to go for the jugular. Somebody’s going to try recording for real and they’re going to strike paydirt quickly – it’s only a question of who and what.

  14. inhumans99 says:


    You are wrong, Omarosa does matter and Congress should have been demanding hearings the second after this news broke that one of the top people in the White House was recorded without their knowledge and this info was so easily leaked to the press. This is a much bigger deal than the way it is being played for laughs. It should keep plenty of Red Staters up at night wondering how much data has leaked to our enemies but I bet most of them will sleep like a baby.

    It should freak you out how easy it was to record General Kelly, and Devin Nunes should be leading the charge to drag people from the White House in-front of Congress but pigs will indeed fly before that happens.

  15. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Slugger: To which “reality show personality” are you referring?

  16. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: “But Hillary’s e-mails.”

    Yeah! We sure dodged a bullet on that one. Thanks, Trumpian crackers! We owe you!

  17. Gustopher says:

    I voted for boring, competent leadership from a person that I was not particularly thrilled to have on the ballot. That said, if we are going to have an incompetent fool as president, I’m glad we get such a delightful spectacle of failure. We’re getting a front row seat to the humiliation of America, and it’s a pretty awesome show.

    Terrible people are doing terrible things, and while they are doing terrible things to our country, they are also doing terrible things to themselves and each other. And they all think they are brilliant, despite all available evidence.

    I am glad Donald Trump decided to hire Omarosa, despite her complete lack of qualifications, skill or temperament. Is her taping of conversations any worse than Michael Wolff basically couchsurfing in the White House and writing down everything after getting people to start bragging? Probably, in fact, almost certainly. Michael Wolff gave Steve Bannon the platform to destroy himself, and he did, and it was excellent. Omarosa has tapes.

    How many terrible people will have their lives dmamged or destroyed by this? Not enough, but at least some. And that’s something to cheer.

    I don’t understand why people think I’m not an optimist.

  18. Bill says:

    Kevin Liptak of CNN had some problems with the book. He said there are factual mistakes and things that aren’t verified.

  19. Not the IT Dept. says:

    Totally not the point, I realize, but it is kind of amusing/gratifying that bosses in the highest office in the land are just as inarticulate and clumsy at firing people as regular bosses.

  20. grumpy realist says:

    @Bill: Yeah, but given Trump’s corkscrew acquaintance with reality, do we really care?

    I’m just rooting for injuries, considering that both sides are grifters and sleazoids.

  21. Kylopod says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Are we trying to sway the #Cult45 members? Pointless. Are we trying to sway the weak Trumpies? I think yes.

    This is a point that should be inscribed on every Democrats’ forehead. Too often, I hear people lump all Trump supporters together and refer to them all as “deplorables” (something that Hillary herself, contrary to popular belief, never did). Anyone who suggests we can win some of them over gets dismissed as naive. Trump’s famous comment about shooting someone on 5th Avenue invariably gets quoted (another widely misinterpreted remark–he was talking about the roughly 1/3rd of the GOP primary electorate who supported him over his Republican rivals). In the general election, many people voted for Trump while holding their nose. Those votes are very gettable–and there’s evidence that Democrats have already won some of them over, as we have seen repeatedly in special elections over the past year.

  22. Sleeping Dog says:


    Kevin Liptak of CNN had some problems with the book. He said there are factual mistakes and things that aren’t verified.

    Sounds like the typical Donald Trump speech. Trump deserves Omarosa, but I do feel sorry for the poor sap who married her.

  23. Jen says:

    I’m just going to marvel, once again, at the pure, unbridled hypocrisy of this administration and its supporters.

    Emails were worthy of “lock her up” chants, but this…reality show failure and one of his co-“stars” repeatedly violate standard security protocol and…crickets.

    “A plague a’ both your houses” comes to mind.

  24. teve tory says:

    People Donald Trump has called low-IQ in the last month:

    Maxine Waters
    Don Lemon
    Lebron James

    What a purely random list, with absolutely nothing tying those 4 people together.

  25. Kylopod says:

    @teve tory: You know what’s fascinating about that? I was seeing people on the forums I read predict he’d call her that before he actually did. At this point, it’s like knowing the sun’s gonna rise.

  26. gVOR08 says:


    Of course she matters if she can be used in a politically damaging way

    Yes. Whatever works. Haven’t read much about her or her book, and won’t read the book. But I have a hope that it will elevate concern about Trump’s mental state into the conversation of the supposedly liberal MSM.

  27. Mister bluster says:

    …absolutely nothing tying those 4 people together.

    I think three of them are Democrats and one is a Republican so it wouldn’t be that.
    Two of them were born in Ohio. But that’s only two.
    Three women, one man.
    The only thing I can see tying them together is that they are all natural born American Citizens.
    Even after looking at their pictures.

  28. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Bill: Okay. I’ll take your word for it and not read the article or the book and just go with my initial assessment of Trump in 2015 that he is the most incompetent boobus who has ever run for President–including Lyndon LaRouche.

  29. Kathy says:


    It should keep plenty of Red Staters up at night wondering how much data has leaked to our enemies but I bet most of them will sleep like a baby.

    Just tell them Canada and Germany may be looking for WH dirt to shore up the Iran deal with. That should worry them.

  30. Hal_10000 says:


    Not really. It may end up mattering to Omarosa, who could get charged with a crime for her recordings. And I understand the desperation to find something that will goad Congress into action or erode his support. But this isn’t it. This is a one-week wonder.

    PS – As I was writing this, the first tape dropped of Kelly firing her. It crosses me as utterly banal — a by-the-book professional firing. There are allegations that Trump told her she didn’t know. Also banal since (a) he’s not his own Chief of Staff; (b) he may have been lying, or clueless or just note care.

    I’ll wait and see if there’s more. And I’ll cop to it if I’m wrong. But I strongly suspect the promised tapes of racial slurs and such will turn out to be vaporware.

  31. Michael Reynolds says:

    It’s not the matador’s sword, but before the killing blow the beast is weakened and exhausted.

  32. JohnMcC says:

    @Hal_10000: “This is a one week wonder.”

    Well, it’s certainly not a ‘wonder’ – since it was the sort of predictable thing that follows our President like ducklings que’d behind mama.

    And I doubt it will last a week without busy cultivation by Ms Manigualt (which she seem pretty skilled at doing).

    The Putin press conference didn’t last a whole week.

    But the passage of each stone in an avalanche only lasts a few seconds. It’s the accumulation that wears you down.

  33. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @JohnMcC: Hate to be nit-picky, but the accumulation buries you. It’s the constant pelting by the smaller pieces that wears you down.

  34. Pete S says:

    @Bill: So if a pathological attention seeking liar prints lies about another pathological attention seeking liar don’t we accidentally get to the vicinity of the truth?

  35. Jen says:

    Oh, boy:

    Several senior aides said Monday that they doubted Manigault Newman was the only person taping her conversations at work.

    This entire crew is so very, very embarrassing. The best people! It’s going to take decades to repair the mess these idiots are making.

  36. Kylopod says:

    If there’s one thing about Omarosa’s claims that interests me, it’s the possibility that there are recordings of Trump using the N-word. This has been rumored for a while. Bill Pruitt and other producers have pretty much stated that Trump was heard saying unfathomably vile racist things on the set of The Apprentice, but that they’re prevented by NDAs from going into detail.

    Of course none of this would tell us anything we don’t already know. But I believe it would represent a new threshold. The N-word tends to be treated in its own category–for better or worse, and in fact I think there’s often too much emphasis on that word over the content of what people are saying. It’s been the thing that kills or nearly kills careers–think Michael Richards or Paula Deen or Dr. Laura, as opposed to the many racist commentators who aren’t known to have used the N-word. I’m not saying it would end Trump’s presidency. It’s not an impeachable offense by any stretch, and the Trumpists would easily rationalize it (“Hey, the rappers use that word all the time!”). But it would bring his reputation as a hardcore racist into ever greater clarity.

  37. JohnMcC says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: I’m a big fan of nit-picking! Sometimes I let loose on Mr Mataconis for things like dangling participles and such. The chorus inside my brain includes quite a few annoying pedants. So please pick away!

    And fortunately I acknowledge a total lack of personal acquaintance with avalanches.

  38. teve tory says:

    Neal Boortz just said Omarosa won’t be prosecuted for this because she’s protected by “Black Privilege”. I knew Boortz was dumb, but not that dumb.

  39. Kylopod says:

    @teve tory: It reminds me of when I was talking to a right-winger some years ago and I mentioned that Obama (like W. and Bill Clinton) didn’t receive a primary challenge when running for reelection. The right-winger replied that the only reason he didn’t receive a primary challenge was because he was black, and no white liberal was going to challenge him for fear of being tarred as a racist.

    One of the cornerstones of the modern American right is the notion that black people have an intrinsic advantage in society–due not just to affirmative action but to an unspoken, politically correct set of social rules that make it hard to criticize them without being branded as a racist. (As Trump himself said in 1989, “if I were starting off today, I would love to be a well-educated black, because I really believe they do have an actual advantage.”) Conservatives use this “theory” as an all-purpose explanation so that they can attack black people to their liking while pretending to be combating racism rather than perpetuating it. Rush Limbaugh’s comments on Donovan McNabb are the essence of this mindset, but Boortz’s remark is just the latest variant, seizing on (and flipping around) the concept of “privilege” that has received a lot of attention in the past few years.

  40. KM says:

    Yep, that and “special rights” are the foundation for their grievances and complaints of reverse “racism”. Funny thing is that argument acknowledges that there was always some sort of privileged place reserved with those social rules in play and that blacks have now displaced whomever was previously holding the title…. which would be the white men bitching. This intrinsic advantage seems to be just fine with them so long as they benefit but god forbid another get a shot at the spot.

    When you’re accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression.

  41. Tyrell says:

    @teve tory: Media?

  42. Kylopod says:

    @KM: A while back I found that the phrase “special rights” goes back at least to the Jim Crow era. For example, here’s Sam Ervin arguing against the Civil Rights Act of 1964:

    [E]very provision of the civil rights bill of the administration which we have been discussing in Washington is a provision which undertakes to give special privileges to a certain group on account of their race which are denied to all others, and it is an effort to rob all Americans of very basic economic, personal, legal, and property rights on the theory that that is the only way you can get rights for one group of our citizens. For example, all Americans are to be denied the right to use their property as they see fit and to be denied the right to sell their property to whom they wish to sell it. They are to be denied the right to hire persons to help them carry on their business in which they have made their own investment if they are connected with any activity or a program of the Federal Government.

    After the civil-rights era ended and the official system of Jim Crow was quashed, conservatives put aside their previous objections to these civil-rights laws and thereafter claimed to be the champions of civil rights against liberals who practice “reverse discrimination.” But their logic is the same as those who opposed civil rights in the past (both Democrat and Republican): to this day they always manage to rationalize their opposition to increased racial equality by claiming they are merely opposing special privileges for minorities.