Now that Omarosa is out, Kellyanne Conway cannot name a single other African-American working in the West Wing

On the first anniversary of last year’s deadly “Unite the Right” event Charlottesville, as white nationalists gathered across from the White House to bemoan their loss of agency in a changing America, Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway went on ABC’s This Week to discuss the new book by fired White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman. Well, during the the interview, journalist Jon Karl asked Conway a relatively straight-forward question; “Omarosa was the most prominent, high-level African-American serving in the West Wing on President Trump’s staff. Who now is that person?” Here, if you haven’t see it yet, is Conway’s painfully labored response.

Conway, as you just saw, was finally able, after a painfully long period of stammering, to name two African-Americans in Trump’s orbit. The first name that she offered was that of Ben Carson, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. And, when she was informed that Carson did not, in fact, work at the White House, she then offered the name “Ja’Ron,” perhaps referring to Ja’Ron Smith, the administration’s Director of Urban Affairs and Revitalization, who likewise does not work in the White House.

The following excerpt comes by way of Think Progress.

…Smith, as the Washington Post’s Josh Dawsey notes, is a “mid-level aide” who works in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, a building adjacent to the White House. Conway, in other words, was not able to name a single black person who works in the West Wing.

It is unlikely that Smith has much interaction with the president or with people in the president’s inner circle. In addition to their job titles, many White House aides are classified by their rank. The highest rank is “assistant to the president,” a level that includes the very most senior aides such as Chief of Staff John Kelly, National Security Adviser John Bolton, and Conway herself.

Omarosa Manigault-Newman, who is black, held the rank of assistant to the president while she worked for President Trump, but it is unclear why. Her job title was Director of Communications for the Office of Public Liaison, which placed her below the more senior official who ran that office. With rare exceptions, subordinate officials within White House offices are not typically classified as assistants to the president.

The next highest rank is “deputy assistant to the president.” As of the middle of last year, more than two dozen White House officials held this rank, including top deputies to officials at the assistant to the president level and heads of relatively minor offices within the White House. Ja’Ron Smith is not one of these deputy assistants to the president.

Rather, Smith is a “special assistant to the president,” a more junior rank held by officials who often have their own policy portfolios, but typically are well outside the president’s inner circle. About 80 people on the White House payroll hold the rank of special assistant to the president. Some examples of officials who hold this rank include the president’s social secretary, the associate director of the personnel office, and the executive assistant to the chief of staff…

And, with that said, here are two other pieces of information that you might find of interest. First, it would appear as though most White Houses have between 400 and 568 political staff working in the West Wing. Second, an estimated 12.7% of the U.S. population is black… So, Kellyanne Conway was unable to give the name of even one black person working on a White House political staff of 400 or more, when, statistically speaking, there should be over 50, assuming the composition of the White House workforce reflected the makeup of our country. And Conway could not name one. [This doesn’t, of course, mean that no African American’s are working on the political staff of the White House. It would sound as though, however, none of them are higher ranking than Ja’Ron Smith, who does not work in the West Wing.]

If you wonder why Trump is revered by the white nationalists who today gathered outside the White House, I think you have your answer.

Oh, and if you want a little more racism…. Axios is reporting today that, when Omarosa was working in the White House, at least one of her co-workers found her to be “a physically intimidating presence.” “I’m scared shitless of her,” this former male colleague of Omarosa’s told Axios. It sounds as though, based on this reporting, they’d wanted to fire her for a while, but felt as though they couldn’t because, “she was the only top-level official in the White House who was African-American.” And, when they did fire her, it was apparently a big deal, as Trump chief of staff John Kelly did it in the White House Situation Room, which is only supposed to be used for national security meetings… And we know this, of course, because Omarosa recorded their conversation, in violation of all known White House norms. But that, I guess, is what you get when you hire people you know to be “low-life” reality television personalities to work in the White House.

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10 Comments

  1. iRobert
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    To be fair, there probably aren’t a whole lot of African-Americans who’d say ‘yes’ to an offer to work in this administration. I’m certain that’s a factor as well.

    I’m sure it’s difficult to find anyone with any sense who would consider working in this administration.

    But it’s my understanding that Trump has more support among African-Americans than any other Republican president in generations.

  2. Anonymous
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 6:58 am | Permalink

    They would have you believe the real racists are those who acknowledge race in hiring. They would say that they just hired the best people for the positions without thought as to the color of their skin.

  3. M
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    Trump just tweeted that Omarosa was “not smart,” vicious,” and “whacky.” He says she wasn’t fit to serve in the White House, but he hired her because she begged him with “tears in her eyes.”

    https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1028996374174593025

  4. Posted August 13, 2018 at 8:50 am | Permalink

    From the Washington Examiner:

    Blacks’ approval of Trump reaches a high of 21% and NAACP charges ‘racism’

    https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/washington-secrets/blacks-approval-of-trump-reaches-a-high-of-21-and-naacp-charges-racism

  5. M
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    The White House is cranking out photos of Donald Trump and black people.

    https://twitter.com/realkareemdream/status/1028724687143149569

  6. Bill Kristol‏‏ by proxy
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 10:39 am | Permalink

    The person who made Omarosa “legitimate” is of course Trump, who gave her a top White House job and insisted she be kept on even when it was obvious she wasn’t up to it. Omarosa may be a “lowlife” and “wacky,” but she didn’t appoint herself Assistant to the President. Trump did.

  7. Eel
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    Trump had no choice but to hire her. She was the only person of color who would work in the White House.

  8. M
    Posted August 13, 2018 at 10:58 pm | Permalink

    Trump just called himself “a true champion of civil rights.”

    https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1029185314752000007

  9. Hyborian Warlord
    Posted August 14, 2018 at 9:04 am | Permalink

    Do you intentionally misrepresent the President’s meaning or are you actually that dumb? SHE called him that until she got fired.

  10. Jean Henry
    Posted August 15, 2018 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    Awesome http://www.officialmikepence.com

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