Omarosa Manigault on the 2013 "All-Star Celebrity Apprentice" (Courtesy photo)
Omarosa Manigault on the 2013 "All-Star Celebrity Apprentice" (Courtesy photo)

Three years ago, Omarosa Manigault was one of the most disliked people on television, and seated across from her in a New York boardroom was billionaire Donald Trump, who had just fired her from his “Apprentice” reality TV show for a third time.

As Omarosa left the boardroom, Trump told his daughter Ivanka and son Donald Jr., “that was an easy one.”

But as Omarosa strutted out of Trump Tower wearing white boots and a matching hat, she seemed to love every moment. In the cab she quoted New Thought spiritual leader Florence Scovel Shinn: “No man is your friend, no man is your enemy, but every man is your teacher.”

Today, President-elect Donald Trump is a week away from becoming the 45th president of the United States and Omarosa is conducting meetings as the next director of communications for the Office of Public Liason.

“We are headed the 1600 Penn!” tweeted Omarosa on the day her appointment was announced.

Ironically, this is not her first tour of duty in the White House. She worked for Vice President Gore and was an early supporter of President Barack Obama.

Last week, Omarosa was one of conveners of a diverse group of African-American leaders of organizations that included the NAACP, Jack and Jill of America, the Urban League and the National Bar Association.

Bishop Harry Jackson, pastor of Hope Christian Church, noted that more Democrats were in the room than Republicans.

“Even though she might not have recent government experience, you can’t argue that she [isn’t] connected with grass-roots leaders and historically black colleges,” Jackson said of Omarosa. “She is showing that [she] is going to reach out to the black community.”

DeeDee Bass, whose sister Deena was campaign spokesman for Ben Carson’s presidential bid, joined her sister at the meeting. She said the time has come for people to realize that African-Americans are not all lifelong Democrats.

“Everybody thinks that all blacks have to be Democrats,” Bass said. “We were raised in Columbus Georgia, and the first black woman on the city council was a Republican, she was also a Delta and she was strong.”

Born in Youngstown Ohio, Omarosa Manigault’s father was killed when she was 7 but early in her life she learned to fight and win against the odds. After graduating from Central State University, she went on to earn a master’s and doctorate from Howard University.

Omarosa appeared in three different iterations of “The Apprentice” in 2004, 2008 and 2013. She was a professor of Business Development at Howard, an ordained minister and was engaged to actor Michael Clarke Duncan before his death in 2012.

When Trump decided to run for president, she returned to the man who launched her TV career, becoming his director of minority outreach at a time when no one gave Trump a chance.

Now Omarosa heads to the White House for the next installment of her reality-starlit life.

Hamil R. Harris

Hamil Harris is an award-winning journalist who worked at the Washington Post from 1992 to 2016. During his tenure he wrote hundreds of stories about the people, government and faith communities in the...

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