I made this point myself this morning, that Conway attacking Romney leaves Trump in a no-win position. If he chooses Romney for State after his loyalists ripped on Mitt, he’ll look magnanimous and “in charge” but he’ll also run smack up against Conway’s point that there’s allegedly a ferocious grassroots backlash to the idea of a harsh Trump critic like Romney in the cabinet. By her own terms, choosing Mitt is a betrayal of Trump’s base — the second betrayal in a week, in fact, after Trump said he was disinclined to pursue criminal charges against Hillary Clinton. If instead he rules Romney out then it looks like he caved under pressure from Conway, Gingrich, Mike Huckabee, and others, bowing to his advisors because they made a stink about Mitt on television. Left to his own devices he might have chosen Romney for the good of the country, but if his inner circle whines loudly enough, he’ll back down. Some alpha male.
The more I think about it, though, the less likely I think it is that people will view Trump either of those two ways. Occam’s Razor: The guy’s a drama queen. And the thought of putting one of his most bitter rivals to work for him is fantastic drama. This freak-show intrigue over the State Department has everything — suspense, high stakes, and a ridiculously colorful cast of characters. It’s the ultimate “Apprentice” episode. Whatever Trump’s and Conway’s true motives are, I think most of the public will resist drawing conclusions about whether this makes Trump look “weak” or “strong” and conclude that it’s all just part of The Show. And yes, you should worry that a momentous choice about foreign policy has become a big pageant, fodder for Page Six. (Seriously.) But that’s what the country voted for, so here we are.
Here’s the next episode of The Show, by the way.
Trump having dinner with Mitt Romney on Tuesday, per 2 sources
— Alex Isenstadt (@politicoalex) November 28, 2016
Will the dinner be friendly or contentious? Will Kellyanne attend? Will Trump order for Mitt, as a total alpha-bro power move? Will the two end up sharing the same spaghetti string like in “Lady and the Tramp”? Will it turn into a slumber party if they hit it off? Stay tuned to tomorrow’s episode of The Show. Why any sane person would want to be part of this circus, I can’t imagine, but power is irresistible, I guess. For all the supposed damage to Trump’s image that this is supposedly doing, the longer it goes on, the less dignified the supposedly distinguished gentleman Mitt Romney seems by his willingness to participate. Do you really want to endure four years of backbiting and Page Six items just to have some minor say over foreign policy, Mitt?
I hope we at least find out whether Joe Scarborough was right that Conway went rogue in attacking Romney or whether Trump put her, Gingrich, and the rest up to this. It’s hard to assess the truth of a situation when you don’t believe anyone involved.