Since winning the election, Donald Trump has continued to put the showmanship that initially made him famous front and center in his choices as President-elect. Between his unprecedented victory tour and his continued involvement with The Celebrity Apprentice, it is becoming increasingly clear that he is not ready to let go of the reality television aspect of his life and assume the role of President unhindered. And, according to The Washington Post, that kind of camera friendliness has become a major factor in the decisions he’s making on who will be joining his cabinet.
Trump has made some truly baffling choices in his early days of cabinet appointments, from Rex Tillerson, who has strong ties to Putin and no government experience, as Secretary of State to his reported pick of Rick Perry to run the Department of Energy, despite Perry being open about his desire to shut down that department in the past. However, these and many others that Trump is considering have the right “look” for his presidency. According to Trump transition spokesman Jason Miller,
“Presentation is very important because you’re representing America not only on the national stage, but also the international stage depending on the position.”
According to this report from The Washinton Post, Trump is filling his positions by looking for archetypes that do well on television.
“He likes people who present themselves very well and he’s very impressed when somebody has a background of being good on television because he thinks it’s a very important medium for public policy,” said Chris Ruddy, chief executive of Newsmax Media and a longtime friend of Trump. “Don’t forget, he’s a showbiz guy. He was at the pinnacle of showbiz and he thinks about showbiz. He sees this as a business that relates to the public. The look might not necessarily be somebody who should be on the cover of GQ magazine or Vanity Fair. It’s more about the look and the demeanor and the swagger.”
One would hope that the emphasis would be on ideas and experience, but alas, that isn’t as camera drawing as charisma. The Washington Post points to Mike Pence’s family man image and Trump calling Gen. James Mattis “the closest thing to General George Patton that we have” as reasons why Trump has picked them for his team — they fit certain roles that television leans on.
This emphasis on image certainly isn’t anything new for Trump. He’s made many comments about appearance in the past, and accused Hillary Clinton of not having a “presidential look.” If only looking the part was enough.
(Via The Washington Post)