Either Trump has disgruntled aides inside his tent who want to damage him by making the public believe he’s making major personnel decisions based on things like height or whether the candidate has a walrus-y mustache, or … he really is making personnel decisions based on those criteria. You would think the fact that he himself is quite a bit taller than Putin would make him more comfortable with having a wee chief at State. Apparently not.
Corker’s not even that short. He supposedly stands 5’7″, the same height as John Adams and Alexander Hamilton (and Putin) and three inches taller than the father of the Constitution, James Madison. Perhaps if America hadn’t “projected weakness” or whatever by electing a munchkin president in 1808 we wouldn’t have seen that aggression by the British four years later. Lesson learned: No president since McKinley has been shorter than 5’9″ and only two since then have been shorter than 5’10”.
Outside of the more substantive worries about Sen. Corker, two sources with knowledge of the transition say that the Tennessee senator’s short stature was a key factor. According to Google, Corker is 5’7″.
A Trump transition spokesmen did not return a request for comment. Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson’s height is unknown. According to Google, Russian President Vladimir Putin is 5’7″ like Corker and photos show Tillerson is several inches taller than the Russian president.
The Washington Post reported Wednesday on attractiveness being a key factor for Trump’s choices for cabinet positions.
That’s not the only reason Trump and his team vetoed Corker, of course. Read the Daily Caller story for a series of insider-trading concerns that might have dogged him in the confirmation process, an ironic twist given the much more significant conflict-of-interest issues swirling around Corker’s would-be boss. No doubt his weaselly procedural machinations to help Obama move the Iran nuclear deal through the Senate also played a role. (At least, I hope they did.) Speaking of height, though, Politico is out today with one of the stupidest pieces of 2016, made slightly less stupid by the reminder regarding Corker that Trump cares a lot about stature even if few other people do (to the same degree, at least):
A copy of Trump’s license, obtained by POLITICO through an open-records request, lists the president-elect at 6-foot-2.
It may just be an inch, but size apparently matters to Trump. A letter that the businessman candidate displayed this summer from his longtime gastroenterologist — while appearing on the Dr. Oz show — stated he was 6-foot-3, though media reports were quick to point out discrepancies…
A special edition of Time published earlier this year profiling Trump also listed him at 6-foot-3 while noting “it irritates him that so many media outlets say 6-foot-2.”
Insert your own lame joke about men exaggerating their size here. As for the eventual winning candidate for the State job, Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson, his height isn’t listed online as far as I can tell but judging from photos of him with Putin, he looks to be about 5’10”, several inches shorter than the 6’2″ Mitt Romney but right in the average range for American men. As chance would have it, the man in the Senate who’ll have the most influence over Tillerson’s confirmation is none other than Bob Corker, in his role as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. And as chance would further have it, Tillerson has many, many potential conflict-of-interest issues of his own given his holdings in Exxon and Exxon’s many holdings around the globe. You would think the Committee might want to see some of Tillerson’s tax returns for a fuller picture of what sort of business relationships he has abroad. Per Corker, though, you would be wrong:
“As is long-standing precedent for nominees considered by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, the committee has not asked Mr. Tillerson to provide copies of his tax returns,” said Corker. “By all accounts, Mr. Tillerson is currently ahead of schedule in providing information to the committee. He already has submitted a completed nominee questionnaire and will soon submit an extensive financial disclosure. Furthermore, prior to his confirmation hearing, he will go through the same ethics and FBI checks as previous Secretary of State nominees. That has always been the plan, it is already in progress, and I am deeply disappointed my colleagues continue to imply otherwise. Our committee will carry out exactly the same procedures for Mr. Tillerson’s nomination that have been carried out since well before I joined the committee 10 years ago.”
It may be unprecedented to ask for tax returns, but it’s also unprecedented to nominate the head of one of the world’s largest, most politically connected multinational corporations to lead U.S. diplomacy. Any chance that Corker’s reluctance to ask for Tillerson’s tax information has less to do with Tillerson than with not wanting to embarrass Trump by demanding a degree of disclosure from his deputies that Trump himself wouldn’t provide? What Corker’s doing here, whether he fully realizes it or not, is further weakening the expectation that high public officials starting with the president should be fully transparent in their business dealings.
In lieu of an exit question, your quote of the day (well, from yesterday) via the famously mustachioed John Bolton:
I appreciate the grooming advice from the totally unbiased mainstream media, but I will not be shaving my #mustache.
— John Bolton (@AmbJohnBolton) December 22, 2016