I Understand Why Omarosa Taped Her Firing. I Wish I Had Taped Mine.

By

Leonard Zwelling

On Meet The Press Sunday, August 12, Chuck Todd interviewed Omarosa Manigault Newman, the former White House staffer who is black. She was the highest ranking black staffer in the Trump Administration. Her high profile allegiance to Donald Trump after their stint together on The Apprentice, clearly led to her appointment in the executive branch. She was called into The White House’s secure Situation Room and fired about a year ago (January 2018) and she has now written a book about her life and her experience in the Trump Administration. On Sunday, on TV to push the book, she called Mr. Trump a racist and misogynist and claims to have heard tapes of Mr. Trump using racist language. She is being characterized by members of the Trump Administration as disloyal and perhaps more than that for taping her conversation with John Kelly documenting her firing. She claims the White House is a den of thieves and every one there has to cover his or her own back. So, she did.

I get it. Been there, done that.

Despite being characterized as a disgruntled employee when I related my own experiences dealing with Dr. DePinho and some of his representatives at the time, I was less disgruntled than appalled.

I had been offered an extra year on my tenure if I signed a non-disclosure agreement and gagged myself and my writing. Obviously, I rejected the offer and the person who made the offer denied he made it. He did make it. I was sitting at breakfast with him when he did it. Unfortunately, I don’t have the tape to prove it any more than I have the tape of the day he fired me in 2007.

First, I should have been fired. I was no longer performing a useful service to MD Anderson by the summer of 2007 as most of my assigned tasks had been shifted to others. Furthermore, the new provost at the time needed the resources that I still had left to hire his own team. Why they couldn’t have just said that is beyond me and why the president of MD Anderson at the time couldn’t just dismiss me as he no longer required my services is still beyond me. But, alas, the president and his successor used the same hit man who fired me once to then try to bribe me to shut up later. Instead, I went to Washington and wrote the blog and my book about my experiences on Capitol Hill. Some of my MD Anderson experiences are included in the book originally called Red Kool-Aid, Blue Kool-Aid, now, retitled, Congressional Malpractice. It’s available on amazon.

Omarosa is clearly smarter and more experienced than I at dealing with people out to get her at the behest of other, more powerful men. I wasn’t that smart.

I truly believe that she knew that she was going to be let go and wanted to have a document of the conversation. She had defended Mr. Trump (I love that Spike Lee calls him “Agent Orange”) and realized the error of her ways. Was she trying to get even in writing her book? Sure. So was I. Was she doing it with the truth? Sure. So was I. Is she probably going to feel even more pain because she dared to take on the powerful? Sure. So did I. I have always felt that my writing in opposition to Dr. DePinho cost my spouse her own position. That’s kind of the way Ron worked. It is a deep regret that I may have contributed to that, but you gotta do what you gotta do and I may be reading too much into the DePinho MO.

So I am jealous of Omarosa. She had the good sense to document for posterity the hostile work environment in which she found herself and now is going to make that situation known to all who are willing to listen.

I hope she has more luck than I did, but I hope her quest is finally rewarded as mine was. DePinho was fired. Trump must be next.

Leonard Zwelling