Omarosa. Maybe Trump thinks she’s suffering from Drapetomania. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.
On July 1, 2020 Omarosa Onee Manigault Newman filed papers in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia to counter the United States Justice Department’s efforts to compel her to present documents she asserts will damage her defense in an ongoing struggle with Donald J. Trump and Trump’s campaign which is suing Omarosa for violating an employee non-disclosure agreement.
Trump’s campaign asserts that Omarosa has revealed information damaging to Trump’s campaign that was confidential. Trump’s Justice Department has concurrently sued Newman for not handing in a financial disclosure form after her “dismissal from the Trump White House Staff.”
This paperwork is a legal requirement of the Ethics in Government Act when one leaves certain government positions. Omarosa’s new papers assert that the Justice Department’s request will subject her to further “bad faith” charges by the Trump Campaign. Omarosa was the highest-ranking Black person on the Trump Whitehouse Staff.
That makes Trump at least the second president to be troubled by the “disloyalty” of an employee with the same name (Onee) Oney. George Washington was the first. He was angered by the brave action of a woman named Oney Judge, an unpaid employee whom the first president felt was disloyal for having escaped her enslavement by him and his family.
The Washingtons placed ads in the newspapers seeking the recovery of their property. One such ad appeared in the Philadelphia Gazette of May 24, 1796. It began, “Absconded from the household of the President of the United States, ONEY JUDGE, a light mulatto girl, much freckled, with very black eyes and bushy hair. She is of middle stature, slender, and delicately formed, about 20 years of age.”
The ad asserted that Oney had done this for no reason and had “no provocation to do so,” as if any enslaved person needed a reason to want to escape. Dr. Samuel Cartwright, 52 years after Washington’s death, offered his learned medical opinion and asserted that enslaved persons who got this urge to escape suffered from a disease he named Drapetomania. So, the Washingtons’ ad had apparently asserted that Oney’s escape was inexplicable since she didn’t even have Drapetomania.
Oney Judge slipped away as George Washington’s family was preparing to shuttle her back from the, then, U.S. Capital Philadelphia to Mount Vernon, Virginia. The Washingtons had done this sort of shuttling repeatedly to Oney and the other African’s in their unpaid employ. The reason was to avoid Oney or any of the others being able to claim freedom under Pennsylvania’s Gradual Emancipation Act. The Act ensured that any enslaved person owned and brought into the state by an out of state resident who stayed in Pennsylvania for more than six months had to be freed.
The Washingtons made many efforts to re-enslave Oney, sometimes by negotiation and sometimes with schemes for recapturing her, but never succeeded.
Ironically Omarosa Onee has presented evidence that even after her dismissal the President’s daughter in law offered her a $180,000 a year job with the Trump Campaign which Omarosa characterized as “hush money.”
Omarosa produced a secret recording with Laura Trump saying in effect that one requirement of the Job was that Omarosa avoid public statements critical of Trump and that she keep “everything positive.” Omarosa turned this job down and eventually released a book called “Unhinged” in July of 2018 which was unflattering to Trump and his staff.
Trump expressed his dissatisfaction with what he termed Manigault’s disloyalty calling her among other things, “a low-life.”
Omarosa Onee has presented one of Trump’s Tweets from August of 2019 that includes the following: “I am currently suing various people for violating their confidentiality agreements. Disgusting and foul mouthed Omarosa is one. I gave her every break, despite the fact that she was despised by everyone, and she went for some cheap money from a book.”
Omarosa Onee is not at this point in danger of incarceration (enslavement). The maximum penalty for this violation is a $50,000 fine.
The more things change, the more they stay the same.