Another weekend morning, another surprising absence by Kellyanne Conway, formerly Team Trump’s most reliable Sunday stalwart. Was that her choice or someone else’s? Hmmm:
Some pushback on who networks would take as surrogates this weekend. Priebus now being sent out as lone face of West Wing.
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) February 18, 2017
Sources at CNN claimed a few weeks ago that they declined an appearance by Conway due to questions about her credibility. More recently she was barred from “Morning Joe” for the same reason. Is the anti-Conway sentiment spreading in booking offices?
With Conway out for whatever reason, Reince Priebus becomes surrogate-in-chief this morning. He’ll be on “Face the Nation” and “Fox News Sunday” to discuss the search for Mike Flynn’s replacement and to squirm when he’s inevitably asked if he agrees with Trump that the media is an “enemy of the people.” Speaking of replacing Flynn, the newsiest interview this morning is doubtless “This Week” landing Robert Harward, who was offered the job of national security advisor by Trump and rejected it, allegedly on grounds that it was a “sh*t sandwich.” Harward will be asked to get specific: Did Trump tell him that he couldn’t put his own staff in place? Did he fear that Steve Bannon’s “shadow National Security Council,” the Strategic Initiatives Group, would end up undermining him? It’s hard to believe Harward would be harshly critical after receiving the honor of a job offer but obviously his misgivings about working for Trump ran deep enough to lead him to turn down the position. Today’s his chance to vent.
Also on “This Week” this morning will be Rand Paul, who’ll explain why he walked out of a Republicans-only meeting on the Hill on ObamaCare in frustration and how he feels about John Bolton, whom he’s excoriated repeatedly for his hawkishness, emerging as a contender to replace Flynn. Paul will also be pressed on having said this week that “it makes no sense” for a party to investigate its own members, i.e. Trump and his advisors over Russia, when there’s so much legislative work to be done. That’s … not the sort of sentiment you’d expect from a libertarian insurgent who’s supposed to be wary of government abuses of power.