I don't tend to discuss very often the audio recordings that Omarosa Manigault Newman has released, nor her concern myself with her book at all. Whenever I do bring them up -- whether if a personal discussion or on social media -- I often will get a scathing retort about how untrustworthy she is, in order to dismiss any meaning of the charges. I think the other person generally expects me to defend her, in an effort to support the latest. Instead, though, I reply -- "Yes, from everything I can tell, Omarosa is duplicitous and a deeply-flawed and hugely untrustworthy person. However, if she releases a tape with other people admitting to criminal acts or showing a despicable side of themselves, that's on them."
I really couldn't care less about Omarosa's book and PR tour. I also have had little interest in her audio recordings, though if any one of them subsequently has substantive revelations, great. But -- there are two aspects of all this swirling about Ms. Manigault Newman that does hold great interest me.
First, I find it telling that she was able to bring a recording device into the White House Situation Room. It raises questions about who else has brought recording devices in there, perhaps the most private, sensitive room in the White House, as well as brought into any room of the White House. Given that we know Trump himself gave code word-level secret information to the Russian Foreign Minister and Russian Ambassador when they were all just chewing the fat in the Oval Office, it is near impossible to not think that security in the White House is profoundly lax and that important, deeply-private information has been recorded there and left the premises. And I suspect that unlike Hillary Clinton, Trump has actually "put us all at risk."
And second, the reality that Omarosa secretly and improperly recorded Trump and others in the White House has little impact on me because...I have the near-total expectation that most people who work in the Trump White House are recording one another. It is incredibly difficult for me to think that recording private conversations in this White House is limited to Omarosa Manigault Newman. In fact, I've read that because Trump is so irresponsible and lies and simply changes his stories on such a regular basis that many people in the White House likely record their conversations with him so that they are able to have evidence of what was said should he ever disagree with their version. Further, the culture of the Trump White House comes from the top, and (as we've seen from all the leaks already) there is so much distrust and such a sense of duplicity from the top that recording private conversations is probably standard operation procedure.
And I wouldn't be surprised if Special Counsel Robert Mueller has some, if not many of these recordings.
So -- no, I don't care all that much about the Omarosa Recordings, and next to nothing about what she says. Her veracity aside, it largely confirms what the rest of the sane world has long known. But these two matters, they strike me as very important and why any discussion of the Omarosa Recordings is meaningful.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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