It’s been called “one of the worst jobs in Washington,” but Donald Trump found someone to take the job as White House communications director. Rather than pick a campaign aide, however, CNN reports that Trump has reached out to the GOP consultant class that he attacked through most of his campaign:
Crossroads Media founder Mike Dubke is expected to be named as White House Communications Director, two administration officials tell CNN.
Crossroads Media has been around since 2001, calling itself “the premier Republican media services firm.” They have handled advertising strategy for some very high-profile Republican campaigns and clients. Those include the RNC, the NRCC and the NRSC, and American Crossroads — the firm founded by Karl Rove. They’ve also handled comms for Crossroads GPS, the super-PAC that pushed hard for the Gang of Eight immigration bill in 2013.
In other words, Dubke hails firmly from the establishment side of the Beltway. CNN also reports that some in the White House are less than thrilled about it, too:
The expected appointment is rankling some inside the White House, with longtime Trump loyalists inside and outside the West Wing saying they would have preferred a veteran from the campaign.
“Dubke and his Crossroads friends did everything they could to kill the Trump movement and failed,” one loyalist said.
“Some” could be an overstatement, though. Both Reince Priebus and Sean Spicer would certainly have been familiar with Dubke from his work at the RNC, and they’re the two most directly impacted by the hire. The job needs someone with heft and prior credibility in order to impose some discipline on messaging, which hasn’t exactly run all that smoothly over the last four weeks. Dubke’s connections in Washington and within the Republican establishment certainly give that prior credibility.
Still, this week has seen three such moves back toward the kind of establishment choices that Trump eschewed in his campaign. When Michael Flynn got forced out, Trump’s first choice was to Vice Admiral Robert Harward, a man with much more traditional instincts on national security. When Andrew Puzder withdrew his nomination for Labor, Trump picked Alexander Acosta almost immediately too, an impressive candidate but with a long track record in Washington. Now he’s picking Dubke out of the GOP establishment to run White House messaging.
All three are good picks, but they’re quite a bit more conventional than Trump’s first round of appointments. Perhaps these are signals that the White House wants to dial down the drama, or at least let Donald Trump dictate where and when it happens — in press conferences.