Omarosa Manigault was open about it from day one of the first season of The Apprentice, back in 2004: She was not here to make friends. She was the show’s heel and its breakout star. Vicious and cutthroat, she would cross anyone to get ahead. She didn’t win, of course—the heel never wins, even in reality television—but her ability to draw ratings meant she kept coming back. She would go on to appear on (and be fired from) The Celebrity Apprentice twice, making numerous enemies, including Piers Morgan, in the process.
Omarosa’s whole character was built around being a ruthless competitor: She wanted to win at any cost. And while she would later deny that the character of Omarosa was anything like her true self—she called it a “a gross misrepresentation of who I am” that was performed for “ratings”—she is a true product of the reality television age, a person who will go any distance for ratings.
Trump, the greatest heel in American politics, may have seen a kindred spirit in Omarosa. His decision to bring her on as special assistant to the president raised eyebrows, as it was the kind of thing that late-night television hosts joked about when no one expected him to win the 2016 election. In Trump’s telling, he hired her out of pity, not respect:
Trump knew what Omarosa was like on The Apprentice, but hired her anyway. She then acted in the White House as she did on The Apprentice. But Trump didn’t hire her for her professionalism—he did so because she “said GREAT things about” him. Trump may be a heel, but he melts whenever anyone compliments him. Omarosa, meanwhile, has continued playing her character, goading the president of the United States into the kind of fight she would often get into with Piers Morgan on The Celebrity Apprentice. It may very well push her book to number one on Amazon and The New York Times Bestseller List.