“Fake News has it purposely wrong,” Trump tweeted yesterday. “Many, over ten, are vying for and wanting the White House Chief of Staff position.” Meadows was one of them but he was a weird candidate for a job that usually requires lots of outreach to Congress. Yeah, he’s a House member but he’s also an ideologue, not someone used to brokering compromises with Democrat. And if Trump is thinking that he’s past the outreach stage with Pelosi and Schumer and that it’s time to prepare for war, Meadows is an odd pick in that regard too. He’s not well known to MAGA Nation as a rhetorical bombthrower, the sort of guy a la Giuliani who’ll sit down on Fox News and insult Robert Mueller for an hour. He would be “loyal” to Trump, but there are lots of cronies who qualify on those grounds and who are better at PR and more willing to fight dirty.
Unlike nearly everyone else in Washington, though, Meadows wanted the job — or so it seemed. And who could blame him? He’s about to become head of a conservative rump caucus within a Republican House minority, among the least influential jobs in Washington. He’ll spend the next two years making paper airplanes and intermittently popping up on TV to provide Trump some cover by complaining about Mueller or the DOJ or whatever. Even being chief of staff to a loose-cannon president is more enticing than that.
It’s not happening, though. For a strange reason, if you believe the White House statement:
“Congressman Mark Meadows is a great friend to President Trump and is doing an incredible job in Congress,” a White House official said. “The president told him we need him in Congress so he can continue the great work he is doing there.”
The White House expects to announce the new chief of staff by the end of the month.
Others under consideration for the job include David Bossie, a former Trump campaign aide, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, though his preference would be to remain in the Treasury post, a person familiar with Mr. Mnuchin’s thinking said.
Continue what work? He’s not going to chair a committee, he’s not going to have any influence over legislation.
Did Meadows perhaps decide in the end that chief of staff has become so lousy a job that he’d prefer irrelevance in Congress to accepting it? Maybe the bit in the statement about continuing his work is just the White House’s way of saving face after he quietly turned them down. Go figure that Meadows might get cold feet about becoming the president’s right-hand man on the very day that his right-hand man from the private sector was sentenced to federal prison.
Anyway, on to Plan B:
Wait, hold the phone. “[A] source familiar with the discussions told CNN on Tuesday that Bossie — who has a previously scheduled lunch with Trump on Friday — is unlikely to be tapped for the job.” What about Plan C(orey), per Erick Erickson?
Lewandowski and President Trump already have a relationship. Lewandowski already knows how to talk to the President, advise the President, and run interference for the President. It is not about whether you like Lewandowski or not. I’m not a huge fan. But I have no doubt at all that Lewandowski, and the President have a rapport with each other that is going to be very useful in the coming months.
Lewandowski is a street fighter, and the President needs one in the White House right now. He needs a Chief of Staff who Capitol Hill knows has the President’s trust, has the President’s back, and has the authority to unquestionably speak on behalf of the President. Lewandowski had that on the campaign trail and, frankly, no one has had it since.
I’m surprised Lewandowski’s name hasn’t been floated by the White House. POTUS soured on the mushy establishment guy as chief of staff, then soured on the military disciplinarian. Trump is going to be Trump no matter who gets hired to babysit him; that’s the lesson of the past two years. Well, conveniently, Corey Lewandowski’s entire approach to the 2016 campaign as Trump’s then-manager was “Let Trump be Trump.” If the president’s going to do what he wants to do no matter what advice he gets to the contrary then he might as well staff up with the ultimate yes-man, who’ll tell him whatever he’s doing at any given moment is a great idea.
Of course, there’s still a Plan D out there. Yesterday I wondered why Newt Gingrich shouldn’t be considered for the job. Look who was at the White House today!