Drama and showmanship has surrounded President-elect Donald Trump’s selection of his Cabinet – in typical Trump fashion.
Trump has hyped and teased who he will pick to serve in his administration, tweeting that only he knows the “finalists.”
C-SPAN cameras have broadcast the lobby of Trump Tower, allowing curious viewers to watch the spectacle from their own homes.
And this week, there was a very public feud about the possibility of Mitt Romney being tapped to serve as secretary of state, as Trump allies warred in the public square over whether he should be selected for the top diplomatic post.
“Is it a good way to pick a cabinet? Not especially,” said Reed Galen, who served in the George W. Bush administration and worked on his and John McCain’s presidential campaigns. “But Trump ran the worst technical campaign in modern history and is poised to become president, so what do any of us really know?”
Romney, who harshly critical of Trump on the campaign trail and called him a “phony” and a “fraud” in a memorable speech during the GOP primary, met with Trump last weekend and emerged as the frontrunner for the secretary of state position. But infighting played out all week among Trump’s inner circle. It culminated in a Thanksgiving day tweet from senior adviser Kellyanne Conway, who openly acknowledged the complaints about Romney.
Galen expressed some worry about the process in an email to Business Insider.
“If it was ‘The Apprentice’ or his own company, who cares? But it’s the US government and the world at large we’re talking about,” he said.
It should not be a surprise that Trump has chosen to select his Cabinet in such a fashion. He was, after all, a reality-television star who has thrived for many years being in the public spotlight. And, during the campaign, he employed a similar style to choose his running mate – before eventually settling on Indiana Gov. Mike Pence after several twists and turns in the final days.
And, while the process has caused unease among political journalists and analysts, some observers have suggested the public nature of it may not entirely be a bad thing.
“The one thing about this is that one of the results of this, at least out of the gate, a lot more Americans are going to know who the Cabinet is than they do now,” Scott Jennings, a former special assistant to Bush, told Business Insider.
“During the Obama years – who can name these people? With Trump running this sort of process, a heck of a lot more people are going to know these guys.”
Jennings said he expects Trump’s entire presidency to continue in such a fashion, noting it’s the way he operates.
“What I think remains to be seen is whether the people he appoints to these positions will be able to keep up. … How are they going to interact in that world?” he asked.
That question remains open, but it seems likely that if they can make it through Trump’s appointment process, they have a fair chance.
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