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About two weeks ago, Omarosa Manigault, the director of communications for the White House Office of Public Liaison, sent out an invite to the Congressional Black Caucus and signed her name, “The Honorable Omarosa Manigault.” Girl, are you crazy? What school did she go to? If she has come out of hiding I hope she has found a book of etiquette that explains when that title is used. According to Robert Hickey, author of “Honor and Respect: The official guide to names, titles and forms of address,” In the U.S. “the Honorable” is a courtesy title used with current and retired high-ranking federal and state officials and judges, and with some local officials. As a general rule, those appointed by the President of the United States (and approved by the U.S. Senate) and anyone elected to public office are entitled to be addressed as “the Honorable” for life. The Honorable is always used before a full name. As a courtesy title the Honorable describes an individual: This person is honorable. As such it never precedes the name of an office.

Honorable or Hon. are not used in direct address—on a letter or place card, or in a salutation or conversation —as honorifics like Mr., Mrs. Ms., Mayor, Ambassador, etc. If the guest of honor is the Honorable, and their name is being included on the invitation, the host can list their guest as the Honorable (Full Name) since the name is a reference to another person, not that person writing their own name. “Omarosa, do you understand?”  And just for the record, the invite was declined by the Congressional Black Caucus.

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