The conference of the National Association of Black Journalists was in an uproar over the last-minute addition of Omarosa Manigault to a panel on police brutality, and the above clip shows her tension-filled appearance.
Moderators and panelists had already dropped out over the inclusion of Trump’s African-American outreach director, which some felt would prevent an authentic conversation on law enforcement and the black community from occurring. According to those behind these scenes, it’s turned into “heavy drama.” The atmosphere on stage during the panel itself was described as “toxic.” And many are asking how the conference organizers didn’t see this coming, for several black journalists turned their back on Omarosa while she appeared onstage.
The New Yorker’s Jelani Cobb said her reasons for dropping out of the panel weren’t just because Omarosa was added:
“It was that she was added at the eleventh hour and it was unclear whether we would be able to discuss substantive issues regarding the administration and its policing policies. Also, the panel was very disorganized, and basic things like format were not clear.”
Omarosa’s rise in the Trump administration has flummoxed many on both sides of the aisle. An anonymous source who spent years active in the black Republican community told the Daily Beast back in March that the reason everyone dislikes Omarosa is because “she has no mission or goal other than to make Omarosa the head sister in charge.”
Most of Omarosa’s critics are within the broader black community, which is largely are flabbergasted by her loyalty to President Trump, rather than the minorities he often excoriates. For her part, Manigault knows she isn’t popular with other African-Americans, and she resents their lack of support. “I will never forget the people who turned their backs on me when all I was trying to do was help the black community,” she once told a reporter. It turns out that was a prescient statement on how she’d be treated at the NABJ conference.
Things got so intense after last-minute moderator Ed Gordon tried to ask Omarosa about Trump’s recent rhetoric, which seemed to encourage police brutality, that she relinquished her microphone and left the stage. At that point, Sam Sanders of NPR, who had been live tweeting the panel, announced on Twitter that he needed a drink. He’s certainly not the only survivor of this year’s NABJ who will be hitting the bars of New Orleans tonight.
One question sure to come up over those cocktails, and is already blossoming on Twitter, is who on the event organization committee thought including Omarosa would be a good idea when, as she herself pointed out, she can’t comment on conversations with the President. Her capacity for discussion was limited from the outset. But if the attendees’ response to Omarosa is any indication, black journalists don’t want talking points. They want real, hard answers.
(Via Page Six)