Government

Trump Names Manigault to White House Post

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Omarosa Manigault, who came to prominence on President-elect Donald Trump’s reality series “The Apprentice,” will join Trump in the White House.

Trump’s transition team announced Wednesday afternoon that Manigault, formerly of Youngstown, would serve as assistant to the president and director of communications for the Office of Public Liaison.

“These individuals will be key leaders in helping to implement the president-elect’s agenda and bring real change to Washington,” said Reince Priebus, incoming White house chief of staff, in an email announcing Manigault’s appointment among several others.

Manigault, who appeared on the first season of “The Apprentice” as well as on “Celebrity Apprentice” and “Celebrity Apprentice: All Stars,” was a prominent surrogate for Trump during the presidential campaign. She served as director of the campaign’s outreach to blacks.

Local community leaders expressed optimism regarding the appointment, although they were divided regarding what it means for the Mahoning Valley.

“Anytime we have insiders from our community that have access to policy makers and decision makers it’s always good for us,” said Rev. Lewis Macklin, pastor at Holy Trinity Missionary Baptist Church, where Manigault’s family has worshipped, and a longtime friend. He cited the example of Jay Williams, the former Youngstown mayor that President Barack Obama tapped to head the Office of Recovery for Auto Communities and Workers and later named to lead the Economic Development Administration.

Manigault was unable to comment publicly on the appointment, according to Macklin, who spoke with her Wednesday afternoon. He said she will do an excellent job in the post. “At the end of the day, she will represent her family, her church and her community well,” he said.

Manigault is someone who has had a long-term relationship with Trump, he noted. “It’s not new. It’s very genuine. She is someone he has had confidence and interest in,” he remarked.

He also pointed out that Manigault is not the “witch” or villain she has portrayed on reality TV but is a “skilled navigator and negotiator” who was strategic even during her high school days. “Her character is not her persona,” he remarked.

Tracey Winbush, vice-chairwoman of the Mahoning County Republican Party and chairwoman of Trump’s campaign in Mahoning County, said she wasn’t surprised that the president-elect tapped Manigault for a position in his administration.

“She’s a very smart, articulate young lady, highly intelligent,” she said. Anything she does with communication I can’t see her failing at.” Any time people from the area succeed beyond the region it reflects well on the area, and she hoped those people say “great things” about Youngstown to bring new business and new people here.

Winbush was more skeptical about any potential benefits the Mahoning Valley might see from the appointment, and questioned how the area gained directly from Williams’ time in the Obama administration.

“No matter who is in there I don’t know what that does for the Valley itself,” she remarked. She hoped that “those of us who know [Manigault] will be able to call her and have access to the president or different areas of the administration.”

Mayor John McNally also said he wasn’t surprised at the appointment, noting that Manigault was a supporter of Trump early on.

“I’m hopeful that with her in that office that if there’s any way that she can be helpful to the city of Youngstown, whether it’s us asking for her help or her accentuating the positives of Youngstown to her boss, that’s something she would do,” he said.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.