In our celebrity-driven culture, publicity is the coin of the realm. Getting attention, at any cost and for any reason, is the highest value. If it happens to be negative, that's not so good, but, as long as it extends your allotted 15 minutes of fame, it's ok.

Nobody better exemplifies this sad reality than Omarosa Manigault Newman, who prefers to be referred to mononymously as Omarosa. She is, of course, the former reality television "personality" who managed to land a top appointment in the Trump White House, only to be shown the door in ignominious fashion.

Now she's joined the ranks of former employees, both happy and disgruntled, who have sold their celebrity through a book. Hers is more of the "tell-all variety" and includes various salacious allegations about the man she once made a living bragging about.

It's hard to argue that Omarosa's celebrity didn't get her into the White House in the first place. Her background certainly didn't. By all accounts, few wanted her there. It was the soon-to-be leader of the free world who brought her in.

Omarosa was a registered Democrat upon until her benefactor began his run for the presidency as a Republican, fueled in large measure on his own celebrity.

She graduated from Central State University, later got a graduate degree from Howard University and some theological training along the way. She worked for a time in the office of Vice President Al Gore. 

Gore's office administrator said that Omarosa "was the worst hire we ever made." She was transferred out of the office and into the Department of Commerce.

She didn't make out much better there. A senior official there said she was "unqualified and disruptive." She lost that post, too.

Those should have been early red flags in first-level vetting of potential senior staff, but that's not from where Omarosa's value emanated. Her fame as a reality television participant was apparently much more compelling.

After her failed attempts at Democratic office staffing, she made a career switch, moving into a slot in the inaugural season of The Apprentice, the reality show starring the future president of the United States.

There she gained a reputation as the woman people loved to hate. Her shtick was building a persona around her brash, conniving and abrasive behavior. She was fired nine episodes into the season.

Eventually, after spots on other reality TV shows, Omarosa wanted to get back into politics. She had her admission ticket with Donald J. Trump.

Throughout the campaign, Omarosa stumped on behalf of candidate Trump. She had all sorts of good things to say about him. She staunchly defended him against all sorts of charges and allegations, including that he was racist.

That, apparently, was enough to land her a White House job. It was at least enough to keep her there once she arrived. The president himself said that she'd been allowed to hang around because "she only said great things about me -- until she was fired."

How quickly things changed once she was shown the door. Her previous pronouncements, she said, had been part of her "misleading the American people" about Trump and his administration. That, of course, raised the question of whether we should believe her when she admitted she was lying to us or believe her now.

Her firing itself revealed the truly ugly side of Omarosa. She admitted that she recorded conversations in the White House Situation Room, a SCIF "Sensitive Compartmented Information Facility, where the nation's top secrets are discussed. Doing that violated every White House rule and protocol imaginable.

If she'd done it anywhere in Pennsylvania, it would be a felony.

Among the conversations she recorded was her firing by Chief of Staff John Kelly.

Why Omarosa chose to release that tape is very curious. In it, Gen. Kelly purportedly calls for a "friendly departure" to help her avoid damage to her reputation and legal action for alleged ethical violations Kelly believed would warrant a court martial in the military.

Releasing the tapes got her some of the publicity she feeds on. She knows that publicity sells books, and that's her main goal these days.

She got more than a little help in that regard. The limited publicity she was garnering helped her book sales, no doubt. A public skirmish with the leader of the free world did a whole lot more.

Trump couldn't resist taking the bait. He launched into a tweet war with her, calling her a "dog." Sadly, that, and the media firestorm that ensued, played right into her hands.

Trump consistently gave Omarosa what she wanted. A spotlight on reality television, a cushy job in his White House and now the publicity she so desperately seeks.

Had the president chosen to avoid tweeting about her outlandish remarks and disgusting conduct, her moments in the spotlight would have been limited. All we'd remember is her awful behavior.

That's where the focus should be.

PennLive Opinion contributor Charlie Gerow is the CEO of Quantum Communications in Harrisburg. His "Donkeys & Elephants" column appears weekly opposite progressive commentator Kirstin Snow.

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