I originally greeted this book with a great deal of skepticism. I had never seen an episode of “The Apprentice,” Donald Trump’s reality TV show that first made Omarosa famous, but I knew that she played the villain on that show and was a longtime champion of Trump before turning 180 degrees and penning this behind-the-scenes book. If Sarah Huckabee Sanders had a shred of credibility herself, I could almost believe her when she repeated the official White House line that dismissed Omarosa’s book as an act of vengeance by a disgruntled employee. (Although I’ve always had a problem with the term “disgruntled employee” used to discredit anything anyone ever says about someone they formerly worked for, as if no employer could ever do anything reprehensible.) But I knew that the book irked Trump, and as the ancient saying goes, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend,” so I gave it a read.
I was surprised by how measured and convincing the author is in telling the story of her life, her upbringing, how she came to be a fervent admirer of Trump, and how she later came to be completely disillusioned. I can understand why she was reluctant to admit Trump’s shortcomings to herself, after he had done so much for her career, and her initial loyalty is, in my opinion, rather admirable. For my own part, I have always given the benefit of the doubt to someone who has been helpful and kind to me if a third party expresses a grievance against them. I’m prone to believe the evidence of my own experience more than something I only have someone else’s word for. And Omarosa, with breathtaking thoroughness, methodically relates the endless series of incidents she first tried to ignore or rationalize before realizing that something was seriously wrong.
The many Trump trolls who are going on Amazon to give this book one-star ratings and slamming it as being “total lies” (an ironic charge considering their own cult leader) have obviously not read the book. Omarosa does not indulge in extensive speculation or idle gossip; virtually every statement or action of Trump’s that destroyed her loyalty to him is something he actually tweeted or said in a televised interview; she doesn’t indulge in he said/she said rumors. What’s most revelatory aren’t the things we didn’t already know, but rather how she recounts the ones we’re familiar with but from the unique perspective of someone who was on the inside looking out. And as has been revealed in numerous TV interviews, she has thoroughly documented everything she reports, possessing hundreds of audio tapes, emails, documents, and even videos of her time in the White House. (The book begins with an astonishing example in her account of her firing by John Kelly.) If you’re going to try to discredit the book, you’re going to need more than knee-jerk name-calling. Perhaps, and the reader has no way of knowing this, she has withheld information that would be damaging to her, but considering the smear campaign launched against her by the White House, one would think that anything really negative about her tenure would have been dredged up by now. And what she does tell us rings with complete authenticity.
I was surprised at how sympathetic her observations on Melania are, and after reading her interpretation of numerous events made famous on the Internet, I now question the thoroughly negative gold-digger image I’d previously had. And the entire book ends on a surprisingly positive and optimistic note, which is the one thing in Unhinged I found unconvincing. But for all of our sakes, I hope she’s right.