‘Only hijabi in the West Wing’ shares the story of her exit from the Trump White House — after just 8 days

Rumana Ahmed (YouTube).

Writing for The Atlantic, former National Security Council staffer Rumana Ahmed has shared the details of her abrupt exit from the White House after only 8 days under President Donald Trump’s administration — and the story isn’t a pretty one.

Under the Obama administration that hired her in 2011, Ahmed wrote, she may have been the “only hijabi in the West Wing” but she was still always made to feel “welcome and included.” As a direct hire of the NSC, Ahmed had the option to stay after Donald Trump took office. “Cautiously optimistic,” Ahmed wrote, “I decided that Trump’s NSC could benefit from a colored, female, hijab-wearing, American Muslim patriot.” Unfortunately for Ahmed, Trump’s administration didn’t feel the same way, she wrote in the piece.

With Trump’s arrival, she wrote, “the diverse White House I had worked in became a monochromatic and male bastion.” From the first day the new staff reacted with “cold surprise” at her presence, her time in the Trump White House was “strange, appalling and disturbing.” Alt-right writers who felt the West was at war with Islam were now her colleagues — even Trump’s original national security adviser, Michael Flynn, who has since resigned, had been quoted saying that “fear of Muslims is rational.”

President Barack Obama in the Oval Office with Rumana Ahmed and National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes in 2015. (Pete Souza/White House)

President Barack Obama in the Oval Office with Rumana Ahmed and National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications Ben Rhodes in 2015. (Pete Souza/White House)

During the ensuing days, Ahmed said she witnessed “the entire presidential support structure of nonpartisan national security and legal experts within the White House” transformed into a “chaotic attempt at authoritarianism” where “the president’s national security authority ‘would not be questioned.’”

The final straw was Donald Trump’s executive order temporarily banning travelers from seven Muslim-majority countries and all Syrian refugees. After Trump issued the executive order, Ahmed wrote, “I knew I could no longer stay and work for an administration that saw me and people like me not as fellow citizens, but as a threat.”

As Ahmed prepared to leave the White House for the final time, she told Trump’s senior NSC communications adviser, Michael Anton, with whom she had shared an office, about her decision. “He looked at me and said nothing,” Ahmed recalled. Later, she found out that Anton had authored an essay in which he criticized diversity as “weakness” and Islam as “incompatible with the modern West.”

“My whole life and everything I have learned proves that facile statement wrong,” Ahmed wrote, and then told the story of how her parents came to America seeking a better life for their family, and her decision to wear the hijab.

Watch Ahmed’s interview with MSNBC below.

Read the full story at The Atlantic.


4-year-old girl reunited with her mother amid Donald Trump’s immigration ban

The headscarf, fear and Islamophobia in the heart of America

Former White House photographer highlights how dramatically times have changed in just a few weeks


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *