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Butterbean --- 3 years ago -

I now have the book. It'll take awhile to read it. Stay tuned. 

Butterbean --- 3 years ago -

Pretty good, so far.

Don't think anyone knew about the tapes until they badmouthed her after the firing. Probably some more saved for a better opportunity. 

Butterbean --- 3 years ago -

College, post graduate educated, Ordained Minister.


Butterbean --- 3 years ago -

Just about ready to start the book postings.

Looks like I'll have another to follow by Bob Woodward.

Always something interesting happening. 

Butterbean --- 3 years ago -

General Kelly sat down and said, "We're going to talk to you about leaving the White House. It's come to my attention there have been significant integrity issues related to you. The integrity issues are very serious.

If this were the military, this would be a pretty high level of accountability, meaning a court-martial. We're not suggesting any legal action here. It's a pretty serious offense. I'd like to see this be a friendly departure. There are pretty significant legal issues that we hope won't make it ugly for you. If we make this a friendly departure, you can look at your time here in the White House as a year of service to the nation.

You can go on without any type of difficulty in the future relative to your reputation. But it's very important that you understand there are serious legal issues that have been violated and you are open to some legal action that we hope we can control."

Omarosa did not reveal her recorder. 

Butterbean --- 3 years ago -

In the Situation Room, with Kelly now gone, I turned to the lawyers, dying to hear what my significant infractions were. One of them said, "We found out that you abused the car service."
"The car service?" As a commissioned officer, I had the use of the car service for official business.

Additionally, I lived in Penn Quarter, which was a ten- to fifteen-minute walk from my office.
I mostly Ubered or walked back and forth between home and work nearly every day-and I had the daily Uber and Fitbit logs to prove it.

"We understand that you took the car service to a Washington Nationals game for personal use," said one of the lawyers, looking smug, like I was busted.
"What was the date of that?"
"June fifteenth," he said.
I checked my calendar. "That was the Congressional Baseball Game. That was certainly official business."

Omarosa still did not reveal the recorder. 

Butterbean --- 3 years ago -

Don't make ripples:

We discussed my departure, and I had to negotiate how I was going to leave the White House. Eventually, they said I had to resign immediately but would be paid through January 20. They insisted on packing my office for me and sending the contents to me, but I pushed back on that. I asked for a statement to be released from the president immediately. I asked what would happen to my assistant. They said they'd get answers to all these questions.

All they cared about was a quiet, calm exit so that they could "control the message in the media" about it, as if social media didn't exist, as if people wouldn't hash over it on every news channel for days or weeks.

They were delusional. 

Butterbean --- 3 years ago -

Experiencing the WH atmosphere after the cover story:

I tried to set the record straight on Good Morning America on Thursday morning.

Michael Strahan and I had a very polite conversation. I made my points, asking why there were no photos of my being dragged away, and discussing the absurdity of a raving woman barging into the residence of the most secure building in the world. Michael reminded me of something I once said about the reason I worked at the Trump White House: "If you're not at the table, you're on the menu."

Then he asked me where that left me now that I was no longer at the table. 

Butterbean --- 3 years ago -

Basic Trump:

Loyalty is a loaded topic when it comes to Donald Trump. His moblike loyalty requirements are exacting, imperishable, and sometimes unethical (as in James Comey's case). But for the people in Trumpworld, loyalty to him is an absolute and unyielding necessity, akin to followers' devotion to a cult leader. 

Butterbean --- 3 years ago -

The offer to join the Trump campaign (or the keep quiet payout) from Lara:

Treating someone with love and kindness after abuse is a classic cult tactic. I felt myself being manipulated, but refused to allow that to happen.

Before ending the call, Lara mentioned a recent article about my departure in the New York Times by Katie Rogers and Maggie Haberman, where they reported, "Mrs. Newman said in the Good Morning America interview, "I have seen things that have made me uncomfortable, that have upset me, that have affected me deeply and emotionally, that have affected my community and my people. It is a profound story that I know the world will want to hear." . . . [Mrs. Newman] had been trying to raise "grave concerns" about an issue that would "affect the president in a big way."

Former and current White House officials said they were uncertain what she was referring to. . . . "The woman who cultivated a reputation as the ultimate TV villain is urging viewers to stay tuned to find out why she really left."

Lara continued, "That's something you can't tell people about," she said. "If you come on board, we can't have you mention that stuff."

In the moment, I believed she was referring most specifically to The Apprentice-era N-word tape. Or was it the nearly fifteen years of Trumpworld insider information I was privy to? 

Butterbean --- 3 years ago -

The 2003 Trump:

The Donald Trump of 2018 is not the same man he was in 2003. When I met him, many of our beliefs were aligned. He identified with Democrats and supported commonsense gun control, like banning assault weapons; legalizing marijuana; universal health care; and even a tax hike on the wealthy.

He thought Hillary Clinton was a "great" senator and donated money to her campaigns and at least $100,000 to the Clinton Foundation. Between then and his run for the White House, he changed his party affiliation several times, landing on Republican.

When he announced on CNN's Larry King Live his exploratory committee with possible intent to run for president, he said, "I'm a registered Republican. I'm a pretty conservative guy. I'm somewhat liberal on social issues, especially health care, etcetera. . . . I think that nobody is really hitting it right. The Democrats are too far left. . . . The Republicans are too far right." 

Butterbean --- 3 years ago -

A future after the firing:

Having been in politics for twenty years, I?ve seen this type of bad behavior on both sides of the aisle. I worked in the Clinton White House and the Trump White House. I worked with the Democratic Party and the Republican Party. I?ve observed the media and voter manipulation, lies, corruption, and scandals from both parties.

Considering that acrimony in politics touches everyone, I never took it personally. I used their mockery and meanness to fuel my comeback plans. 

Butterbean --- 3 years ago -

A reasonable request:

I've been cast as the villain since my first day on television, and I nurtured that persona because it worked for my Hollywood career. That was fine for a reality TV star. But people didn't want to see a reality star in the White House-I mean, other than Trump himself.

It's time to tell my story. It's a good one.

No doubt, you've come here with prejudice about who you think I am. But all I'm asking is that you hear me out. 

Butterbean --- 3 years ago -

The formative years:

We lived in Westlake Terrace, a four-hundred-unit barracks-style apartment complex in Youngstown, Ohio. Built in the 1940s, Westlake was one of the first public housing projects in the nation, situated near the Mahoning River, a highway, and a US Steel Ohio Works mill.

At its peak, Youngstown was a bustling steel manufacturer, and when the steel industry collapsed, the city was devastated. As work became scarce, gangs and violence flooded the community.

One of my earliest memories is of an afternoon when my sister Gladys and I were playing on the playground swings, when, all of a sudden, we heard gunshots. A man came tearing through the playground and ran between two of the projects' buildings. A policeman was chasing him, firing rounds every few seconds.

My mother dashed for us from the back door of our unit. "Get down, get down!" she screamed.
Mother grabbed both of us and ran back through the door, making us crouch down on the floor between the refrigerator and the stove until the commotion subsided. If we hadn't made it to the door in time, we might have been trampled or killed.

Scenes like this became common in Westlake, and my family was determined to get out. 

Butterbean --- 3 years ago -

Family dedication:

My mom went to work at a plastics factory, and we didn't get to see her much anymore.

She worked from three to eleven o'clock at night, would take a short break, and then work a second shift until seven in the morning. She'd come home to help us get dressed and off to school, and then she'd sleep until her next shift started in the afternoon.

My oldest brother, Lester, was responsible for feeding us dinner, helping us with homework, and getting us ready for bed.

Most often we'd go to Grandma's new house on the north side, or to the homes of other members of our huge family. I had six aunts and three uncles, two sets of grandparents and sixty-two first cousins. 

Butterbean --- 3 years ago -

The shame of being poor:

As you can imagine, after my father's death, our single-minimum-wage-income family of five struggled to make ends meet, and we relied on public assistance like food stamps and Section Eight, a program where the government subsidizes rent in public housing.

Nowadays when you receive government assistance for food, you are given an electronics benefits transfer (EBT) card. But when I was growing up, food stamps were actual colored stamps in multiple denominations.

I remember circling the store and trying to wait until the other shoppers cleared out of the grocery store so they wouldn't see me putting the stamps on the counter to pay. The looks were withering, and the stigma was real. To my knowledge, the United States is the only country in the world that has created a separate currency for its poor. To me, it seems to be a form of intentionally shaming those in need.

After my father died, we wouldn't have had enough to eat without that aid. That was the new reality of my mom as a widow and having to raise four kids the best way she knew how. She did what she had to do to make the most out of the difficult situation we found ourselves in back then. 

Butterbean --- 3 years ago -

A competitor is born:

As I grew up, I sought any opportunity to stand out and make a name for myself. My junior high and high school years were defined by competition and performance.

I played volleyball for coach Paul Oakes. I was on the debate team and chess team with Jocelyn Dabney and on the track team with Henrietta Williams. And also in the marching band with six of my cousins. 

Butterbean --- 3 years ago -

Scholastic mentors along with the athletic scholarship:

I'd lost my father very young, but I bonded with three mentors at college I called my CSU dads. Donald K. Anthony was the head of alumni affairs and connected me to people and opportunities that would help advance my education and career in Cincinnati, where he lived. Dr. Emil Dansker was my journalism professor and helped me develop my strong writing skills. Dr. John "Turk" Logan was the head of the campus radio station and the TV station. Dr. Logan helped me develop my own on-air personality and understand "show business."

Dr. Logan chose me to host an early-morning-time-slot show on WCSU 88.9 that I titled Jazz Awakening, where I honed my newscaster voice. 

Butterbean --- 3 years ago -

The exposure to national media:

Dr. Dansker ran a program he called the National Conventions Project to give student journalists the chance to cover political conventions and presidential inaugurations. I applied for the program and was thrilled to be selected to cover the Summer Olympics in Atlanta in the office of press operations for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Later that summer, I covered the Republican National Convention in San Diego and then the Democratic National Convention in Chicago for the Dayton Daily News. I did double duty working for the Associated Press as a film runner, literally grabbing footage shot on the floor and running it to the editing room.

I also got to work the inauguration of President Bill Clinton in January 1997.
Working at these high-profile events, I was even more committed to pursuing a career in media.

After I graduated from Central State University with a bachelor's degree in broadcast journalism, I continued my education at Howard University, the prestigious historically black college in the nation's capital, to get a master's in mass communication with a focus on telecommunication and policy. 

Butterbean --- 3 years ago -

Howard's post grad program set the Washington stage:

I learned in a heartbeat that politics was all about connections. During my graduate studies at Howard University, I took a job at a luxury apartment building called the Lansburgh. There, I met a lot of powerful people including Janet Reno, Mary Landrieu, and, most important, Doris Crenshaw, a lobbyist who'd hired me to do part-time clerical work and knew everyone in DC.

After I got my master's in May 1998, she made introductions that helped me land a job in then Vice President Al Gore's White House office. As a scheduling and advance coordinator, I assisted in processing all the correspondence and requests that came in, and coordinating the logistics in advance of his travel.

In Gore's office-a progressive, liberal, allegedly diverse administration-I was one of just a few African Americans. 

Butterbean --- 3 years ago -

The introduction to denial tactics:

It was a turbulent time to work in the White House. Then President Bill Clinton had been under investigation by special prosecutor Kenneth Starr over the Monica Lewinsky scandal for some time. When the allegations first started to come out, no one in the administration thought they would amount to much.

But every day brought a new revelation. Recorded conversations between Lewinsky and her colleague at the Pentagon Linda Tripp. The blue dress. Photos. Denials. Depositions before Senate committees. I watched as his people denied, distracted, and deflected the allegations.

And then, when that didn't work, they attacked and vilified his investigators. I didn't know it at the time, but I would see the same tactics twenty years later from a different man sitting in the Oval office. 

Butterbean --- 3 years ago -

In the White House with the Clintons:

For once, I thought the scene would have a different ending. Surely Hillary Clinton would not stand to be humiliated in public. She was too strong and too brilliant, an independent woman, a lawyer. So many women inside the White House and around the globe hoped that Mrs. Clinton would not tolerate her husband's chronic cheating.

Women were coming out of the woodwork to accuse Bill Clinton of a full spectrum of sexual abuses. Not only did Mrs. Clinton stand by him, but she attacked the women, calling it a bimbo explosion. I remember feeling extremely disappointed. It seemed like she really wanted to help people, but she was incapable of helping herself.

When I shared my feeling with Doris, she said, "Omarosa, politicians are just human. You have to separate their good works from their personal flaws." 

Butterbean --- 3 years ago -

After a CNN gig:

I went to the career-services office at Howard University Graduate School for assistance. The director told me about a job posting for a director of research and development at the National Visionary Leadership Program, a foundation for historically black colleges. I was surprised to discover that the foundation was founded by none other than Bill Cosby and his wife, Camille.

I interviewed and got the job. I reported to his wife. I only interacted with Mr. Cosby a handful of times in my entire year at the foundation.

As the director of research and development, I was tasked with identifying programs and individuals at historically black colleges and universities to receive scholarships and grants. It was a perfect job for me! While there, I helped to compile a tremendous video archive of civil rights leaders, community activists, and other remarkable people. 

Butterbean --- 3 years ago -

The beginning of The Apprentice:

By 2003, after five years in politics, I was disillusioned. My White House stint had ended with impeachment and Gore's heartbreaking election loss. My DNC experience showed me just how dependent politics were on fund-raising, which made the entire enterprise suspect. I saw little but corruption, bad behavior, backstabbing, and abuses of power. I was ready to make another move, but I didn't know what or where.

I was ripe for suggestion when Kevin (Jefferson) came into the office one day and asked me if I'd seen the casting notice soliciting contestants for a reality TV show called The Apprentice, hosted by his business hero, Donald Trump.

"You should apply and try to win so you can go work for Trump," Kevin insisted. 

Butterbean --- 3 years ago -

A competitor's confidence:

The more I learned about the show, the more confident I felt about applying. I had the newscaster voice and beauty queen posture I'd cultivated since childhood, discipline from ROTC, good timing from acting in high school and college.

From sports, I'd learned to be a fierce competitor. I had a solid career at that point in my life and had absorbed lessons from each job about office politics, difficult colleagues, and logistic and organizational skills.

From the moment I sent in my tape, I felt certain I'd get picked for an audition. So when I got the call that I'd made the first cut, I almost said, "What took you so long?" 

Butterbean --- 3 years ago -

The preparation:

I had a short time to prepare before the show started taping in New York.

Kevin and Ervin were so excited for me! They became my two drill sergeants and helped prepare me for the competition by buying me books and researching everything they could find about Donald Trump.

I read Trump's The Art of the Deal and The Art of the Comeback several times. I read every Trump magazine profile and interview. I watched videos of his TV interviews.

The winner would be the person who understood Trump's business style, his negotiation style, his machismo, his boldness, his brashness. To do that, I would need to become a mirror and reflect a female version of him.

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, after all. 

Butterbean --- 3 years ago -

Creating the persona:

A friend who worked in production for several reality shows gave me some incredible advice before taping began.

First, he said, "You can win without winning just by making sure no one forgets your name." My father had done me the favor of giving me the unique Nigerian name Omarosaonee (I shortened it to Omarosa in school), which means "my beautiful child desired." Sure, it wasn't easy to pronounce, like Jill or Becky, but it was memorable.

Second, my friend said, "Reality TV is about conflict and tension." He suggested that I should either be (1) starting a fight, (2) stirring one, or (3) breaking one up. "Whatever you do, be where the action is." 

Butterbean --- 3 years ago -

The Apprentice:

I was at the center of most of the conflict on the show, by design, but I never raised my voice or called people names. I never got physical or aggressive, unlike some who called me everything in the book. I stayed cool, calm, and collected. And yet, the other women felt threatened by me.

When a man is confident and stands up for himself, he's called tough and strong. He's a good businessman. When a woman plays to win, she's labeled a villain or worse. I was playing to win. I wanted the job running a Trump company (in reality, the winner would never run a Trump company; they would just be a project manager of a small deal) and I wanted the accolades that came with it.

I needed to win, and I'm not ashamed to say it. A lot of the other candidates acted as if they were on an Apprentice missionary trip. I was straightforward about my stance, and it intimidated people.

Being provocative was good TV and led to huge ratings for the network. Many newspapers and magazines called me the "breakout star" of the show. Trump liked what I was doing. We were winning our time slot every week! Winning bigly. On private phone calls with me, and in many media interviews, he attributed the winning to me. 

Butterbean --- 3 years ago -

The Trump branding:

Winning is a prerequisite for entering Trump's orbit, populated, almost exclusively, by people like him, entertainers who said things to get a reaction or garner attention. He cultivated these people and encouraged them to exaggerate the unique part of themselves and to live up to the hype.

He saw the value in drama, aesthetics, conflict and theatrics, and in having a personal brand. The reason he often referred to himself in the third person was to reinforce the name of his brand. I started to do it as well.

The Apprentice was a branding opportunity for Trump, and nearly every task was self-promotional. Of course, the main location was in Trump Tower; this is where all the candidates were housed and the boardroom meetings on the show occurred. A giant sign for Trump Organization was right behind a secretary's desk. 

Butterbean --- 3 years ago -

The person in the boardroom:

Five hours is a long time. (The boardroom scene shoot) Everyone lagged, except for one person-Trump himself. His energy was high and his focus sharp. He engaged on an elevated level and had a full grasp of the rules and parameters of each task.

He knew each of our names and performance histories, show by show. He spoke with a wide-ranging vocabulary, made eye contact, and sat still. He analyzed our performance and arguments on the fly. He kept all these balls in the air at the same time, without any sign of fatigue or stress.

Trump seldom took food or bathroom breaks, either. He didn't ramble or get confused. He bragged, of course, but his stories were relevant to the discussion at hand. The conversations were productive, and the man couldn't have been more impressive.

The Donald Trump of 2003 was as smart and shrewd as he claimed to be. 

Butterbean --- 3 years ago -

A successful first season, Photo shoot for TV Guide, Emmy nomination:

For that TV Guide cover, Ereka Vetrini and I perched on the arms of the gilded chair with Trump sitting between us. We wore short skirts and Brioni ties with our shirts open. Trump was in a suit, as always. At that shoot, he paid particular attention to one of the magazine staffers. He was engaged to model Melania Knauss by then.

Trump told the TV Guide staffer how attractive she was and smiled at her in a way that could not be misinterpreted.

It was the first time I'd seen this kind of behavior from him, but it wouldn't be the last. Still, I chose to ignore it. His personal life was not my business. The TV Guide woman acted like she was flattered.

As I continued to do dozens of promotions and events with Trump on behalf of the franchise, I noticed a pattern emerge. Trump made no secret of his appreciation for beautiful women. And the women seemed to be appreciative of his overtures. 

Butterbean --- 3 years ago -

Trump marries:

When he and Melania got married in January 2005, none of the contestants were invited to the wedding but I read all the coverage of the event. I remember being happy for them and hoping that it would last.

I'd had many opportunities to observe their relationship at events. She would gaze at him with adoration. She loved him. Of that, I was convinced. Before him, she'd been a model, and now she was a billionaire's third wife. As for his feelings, I wasn't so sure.

In March 2006, Melania gave birth to Barron, Donald's fifth child. If she had any idea about his extracurricular activities, I didn't know, and again, it wasn't any of my business.

I'd seen him at events that Melania did not attend-his birthday parties, fund-raisers at Mar-a-Lago, golf tournaments-and he behaved like a dog off the leash. He never hid his appreciation for beautiful women. We all know about Stormy Daniels, whom he met in 2006 at a charity golf event in Lake Tahoe, and Playmate Karen McDougal. It would be safe to assume that there were many others. 

Butterbean --- 3 years ago -

Building tha brand:

I booked shows as often as I could, but I also had a balance. With my master's, I lectured at colleges and taught seminars. Opportunities to do public speaking flowed my way, and I gave speeches about leadership in business and in life. Throughout my entertainment career, I'd been focused on relationship building.

I learned in Washington that careers in politics were driven by connections. Why would entertainment be any different? When I did a show with a production company, I worked hard to build relationships, befriended the producers, the sound people, the camerapeople, the showrunners. So when they went to their next job and someone asked, "Who should we get for this show?" those same people would say, "Omarosa is amazing to work with. She gets it."

I had name recognition. I established a reputation as the consummate professional. The relationships I brokered with producers, network executives, cast, and crew made it possible for me to go from one gig to the next. My fifteen minutes stretched into years.

Some of Trump's successful branding secrets-referring to himself in the third person and by one name, Trump-rubbed off on me. I insisted that people call me only by my first name, too. 

Butterbean --- 3 years ago -

The Hail Mary Celebrity Apprentice show promo at the Playboy Mansion:

Don Jr. was at that party as well, and he seemed as delighted to be among sexy naked women as his father, despite the fact that his wife, Vanessa?who was pregnant with their first child?was also there, appearing to wish she were invisible. Don Jr. told Adam Carolla, who was broadcasting his radio show live from the party, ?Can you believe the hell I?m going through? I?m at the Playboy Mansion with a pregnant wife! It doesn?t get worse than that, does it? Now, I love my wife, but that is rough. And I?m going to pay for these statements later on tonight. I?m gonna pay.?

I can only hope he did.

I don?t remember seeing Eric Trump at this particular event. He might?ve been in Washington, DC, at Georgetown University. Ivanka was definitely there. I remember, at one point, pausing to take in the Trump family dynamic. Over there, Donald was flirting with Bunnies. Hovering nearby, Don Jr. kept a wary eye on his father, both in awe and terrified of him. Across the room, Melania stared at her husband, mysteriously, intensely. And Ivanka laughed and charmed anyone nearby. Donald never looked over at his son or his wife.

But he glanced often at Ivanka. 

Butterbean --- 3 years ago -

All in the family in the boardroom of Celebrity Apprentice:

To Trump, it didn't matter that his children were not seasoned professionals. He prized loyalty over experience; Don Jr. and Ivanka were nothing if not devoted to their father. His children would never challenge his judgment or overshadow him as the show's star.
. . .
For as long as I'd known Trump, I'd observed the way he hugs, touches, and kisses Ivanka; the way she calls him Daddy. In my opinion, based on my observations, their relationship goes up to the line of appropriate father/daughter behavior and jumps right over it. I believe he covets his daughter. It's uncomfortable to watch them carry on, especially during that season of Celebrity Apprentice when she was so young. For her part, she knows she's Daddy's little girl, and I believe she exploits his fixation with her to get her way.

Don Jr. had to submit to his father's hazing as well. If Donald didn't like Don Jr.'s assessment in the boardroom, he'd berate him in front of everyone, using words like wrong and stupid. Don Jr. was clearly terrified of his father. People interpreted his fear as complete and total respect and deference. I did. But now, I see the verbal abuse as a method of control. He was rough on them, so they tried even harder to please him and avoid further abuse.

I remember during one boardroom outtake that season, it came out that Donald Trump and Carol Alt had once dated in the nineties. Donald said something like, "Yeah, those were the good old days." He turned to Don Jr. and said, "You've got to get *** like that. You got to get some *** like that." Carol just sat there, Ivanka-like, and took it. I remember being disgusted, thinking, Donald, what are you talking about? Your son is married. His wife is pregnant. 

Butterbean --- 3 years ago -

2007, the first Trump fixation with Obama:

During boardroom outtakes, Donald talked about Obama often. He hated him. He never explained why, but now I believe it was because Obama was black.

At one point during the shooting, Donald said, "I've got to wrap up this boardroom because I'm going to be making a major announcement at a press conference." He said that his investigators had discovered key information that would prove definitively that Barack Obama was not born in America.

As I mentioned, I'd first met Barack Obama in Chicago at a DNC fund-raiser in 2003 and knew he was a man to watch. I'd always kept my hand in Democratic politics, and I'd met Barack and Michelle Obama several times over the years and liked them both.

So there I was, at my job and my boss was plotting to destroy a man I knew and respected deeply. 

Butterbean --- 3 years ago -

2007, the first Trump fixation with Obama:

During boardroom outtakes, Donald talked about Obama often. He hated him. He never explained why, but now I believe it was because Obama was black.

At one point during the shooting, Donald said, "I've got to wrap up this boardroom because I'm going to be making a major announcement at a press conference." He said that his investigators had discovered key information that would prove definitively that Barack Obama was not born in America.

As I mentioned, I'd first met Barack Obama in Chicago at a DNC fund-raiser in 2003 and knew he was a man to watch. I'd always kept my hand in Democratic politics, and I'd met Barack and Michelle Obama several times over the years and liked them both.

So there I was, at my job and my boss was plotting to destroy a man I knew and respected deeply. 

Miss Understanding --- 3 years ago -


Thank you for this post! Much appreciated. I am not much of a bookie.

That family is SAD. Did you see how lowww Trump Junior stooped with his instagram crayone drawing that he did? They are so dumb they don't even realize how dumb they make themselves look, allof them. 

Butterbean --- 3 years ago -

The smoldering hatred:

Barack Obama's presidency incensed Donald Trump. In his mind, Obama wasn't just black, he was foreign, with a father from Kenya. He was suspicious of Obama's otherness, which is an actual term in the study of "whiteness."

The otherness wasn't just being black; it was being African. Foreign. Exotic. Other. By Barack Obama becoming president, he made Donald Trump look like a fool. Trump took it personally, that the nation chose Obama over him, even though he wasn't running.

At one point, I asked him, "Why are you advancing this birther foolishness?"

He said, "It's just politics. This is politics." He claimed it was part of his opposition research, which everyone did. Since he was contemplating a serious run for the presidency in 2012-just like he'd said in 2004 and 2008-he considered it all fair game, just what you had to do to compete.

I remembered this conversation five years later when the news broke about Don Jr.'s meeting with that Russian lawyer in Trump Tower after he'd been promised in an email, "Official documents and information that would incriminate Hillary and her dealings with Russia and would be very useful to your father."

Was that just more opposition research, too? Just another example of what you had to do to compete? 

Butterbean --- 3 years ago -

The ember is fanned:

At the 2011 White House Correspondents' dinner at the Washington, DC, Hilton, Obama came out and immediately started roasting Trump about the birther business. Both Donald and I were in attendance. I was sitting probably seven or eight tables away from Donald at the dinner. Obama made jokes about Donald Trump's "credentials and breadth of experience."

Obama continued, "In an episode of Celebrity Apprentice, at the steakhouse, the men's cooking team did not impress the judges from Omaha steaks. And there was a lot of blame to go around, but you, Mr. Trump, recognized that the real problem was a lack of leadership. And so ultimately you did not blame Lil Jon or Meat Loaf, you fired Gary Busey, and these are the kinds of decisions that would keep me up at night."

I saw the expression on Donald Trump's face.

He was livid.

Obama's delivery, the words, the power, were not just funny, they were impactful. His joke about The Apprentice made people at my table glance my way while laughing. Barack said from the podium: "Well handled, sir. Well handled," and addressed the crowd, "Say what you will about Mr. Trump, he certainly would bring some change to the White House. Let"s see what we"ve got up there."

Then, on the screen behind him, an image appeared of the White House with a Trump sign branded upon it, like Trump Tower.

It was in that moment, in that room, that Donald Trump made the decision, not only that he would run for president in 2016, but also that he would take his revenge on Obama's humiliating him in front of all those influential people. I was there to witness it. Not a lot of people can make that connection, but I know what I saw. When Seth Meyers took the mic and called the very idea of a Trump presidency "a joke," I could almost hear Trump's thoughts from a few tables away:

Laugh now, but soon enough, the joke is going to be on all of you. 

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