Sunday morning talking heads
Not one, not two, but three potential replacements for John Kelly as chief of staff on the Sunday shows this morning? It’s an embarrassment of riches. Two of those candidates will be doing double duty, fending off questions about the domestic abuse accusations against Rob Porter and Kelly’s mishandling of them while offering their takes on the new deficit-bloating Republican spending bill. Trump OMB chief (and CFPB director) Mick Mulvaney will be on “Face the Nation,” followed on the same show by House Freedom Caucus chairman Mark Meadows. Both were mentioned on Friday as men whose names have come up as successors to Kelly as Trump has considered easing him out. Mulvaney has his hands full with his other roles right now but if I were Meadows I’d leap at the chance to join the White House, even knowing how thankless the job of chief of staff has been. Meadows has spent the past few days watching the final fiscal death throes of the tea-party movement that got him elected. He’s probably facing a Democratic takeover of the chamber this fall, which would send conservatives even further into the wilderness. Might as well get out now.
The third possible replacement for Kelly is dark horse Kellyanne Conway, who’s the lead guest on “This Week” and “State of the Union.” Her name hasn’t been publicly mentioned but she checks all the right boxes for Trump. She knows her way around the Hill, she’s fiercely loyal to him in TV appearances, and she’s been part of his team longer than Kelly, Mulvaney, or Meadows have, so there’s a comfort level for POTUS with her. Trump would also get some grudging credit from the media for appointing a woman to be his chief of staff, which itself would help with public perceptions after Porter and Roy Moore and a million other things that he’s callous towards the opposite sex. Fun fact: There’s never been a female chief of staff in the White House. Not one. Trump could help shatter the glass ceiling!
Elsewhere, Jeff Flake will stop by “Meet the Press” to unload on POTUS over “Portergate” and his remark at a speech this week about Democrats behaving a little treasonously by refusing to clap for good news at the SOTU. And Rand Paul will appear on “Face the Nation” to describe how it feels to be the last guy in the GOP even making a pretense of caring about fiscal responsibility. The full line-up is at the AP.