President Trumpâ€™s senior aide Omarosa Manigault was reportedly fired last week, supposedly in a dramatic reality show-like performance akin to the ones that got her hired in the first place (she denies being fired).
But the question shouldnâ€™t be whether she had to be physically removed from the White House as is said to have been the case, but why Omarosaâ€™s ties to the Nation of Islam extremist group werenâ€™t a disqualifier.
Reality star Omarosa, who was previously fired three times by Donald Trump on The Apprentice, became the director of African-American outreach for President Trumpâ€™s campaign in July 2016. After his victory, she was given two titles: assistant to the president and director of communications for the Office of Public Liaison.
In those three capacities, Omarosa would choose which audiences to pitch Trumpâ€™s candidacy to, which leaders to cater to and to which organizations to offer a platform. And, as was the case with the past three administrations (and even before that), this minority outreach program included Islamist extremists who should have been ostracized instead of legitimized.
In May, Omarosa boasted on a radio show in Chicago, “I think any of your audience would know that I’ve never shied away from having an open, and I believe a good, relationship with Louis Farrakhan,â€ referring to the ultra-radical leader of Nation of Islam.
The Nation of Islam is said to have 50,000 members. It is anti-American, anti-Semitic, racist and pro-jihadist. Farrakhan embraces foreign leaders hostile to the U.S. and urges violent retaliation against perceived â€œoppressorsâ€ of Muslims and African-Americans. Its anti-police bigotry also radicalizes non-Muslims who target law enforcement, such as Micah Johnson who attacked police in Dallas and Gavin Long, who did the same in Baton Rouge.
In March 2016, Farrakhan nearly endorsed Trumpâ€™s candidacy for supposedly being the only presidential aspirant â€œwho has stood in front of the Jewish community and said, ‘I donâ€™t want your money.â€ Of course, Trumpâ€™s pro-Israel stances dispel the mirage of anti-Semitism that Farrakhan thought he saw.
The Trump Administration declined to comment when Omarosaâ€™s remarks about Farrakhan were reported.
The Final Call, the newspaper of the Nation of Islam, responded to the press attention by describing critics of Omarosaâ€™s pro-Farrakhan statement as â€œ[having] all the outrage of an old-time slave master.â€
It referenced the Anti-Defamation League in a scathing attack, saying:
â€œ[T]he paternalistic, Zionist group continues to act as though todayâ€™s Blacks are the same as our ancestors bought and sold by Jewish slavers during the darkest times of our history. We donâ€™t belong to you anymore â€¦ Min. Farrakhan represents the end of the old Black-Jewish relationship and the control wicked ones have exerted over our community for their interests, and not our best interests.â€
The Nation of Islamâ€™s anti-Semitic article ended by praising Omarosaâ€™s remarks as â€œrevolutionaryâ€ and proof that Farrakhan has far-reaching support among â€œrespectable Negroes.â€
How far back does Omarosaâ€™s support for Farrakhan and the Nation of Islam go? Were such connections part of the vetting process? And why wasnâ€™t she fired after praising an openly anti-Semitic, anti-American and violent figure?
These are questions that need to be answered so that the U.S. government can prevent its officials and programs from faciliating the agendas of Islamists, bigots and extremism.