As rumors of a White House shake up persist, there is a dirty little secret being whispered within professional political circles: no one wants the communications job.
News broke yesterday of the resignation of White House Communications Director Mike Dubke with a decided reaction of “I’m sorry, who?” Truth is, we’ve hardly hard Dubke’s name at all in the first four months of this administration. He barely merited attention when he joined the White House in February, and successfully kept his name out of the news (for better or worse.)
But the two much more telling parts of this story are this: 1) Dubke reportedly tendered his resignation on May 18th and was not leaked to the press (!), and 2) that at least to four people approached to fill that now empty spot have reportedly declined the job. Why would someone turn down a once-in-a-lifetime gig in working in the White house?
Well maybe candidates have also noticed a growing trend amongst the political pundits and personalities who have appeared publicly to defend President Trump. It is a no win position. Oh, and it also might ruin your career.
The list of former surrogates who have seem to have disappeared from the public airwaves continues to grow, and prospective candidates likely don’t want to join it. And this applies to both elected officials and professional punditry. The public presence of Rudy Giuliani, Chris Christie, and even Newt Gingrich have all declined significantly since January 20th. And last fall one couldn’t turn on cable news without seeing the visages of Betsy McCaughey, Katrina Pierson, AJ Delgado and Harlan Hill. A couple may have continued to work behind the scenes for Trump, but at least from a public perspective, where are they now?
President Trump is, among other things, a master of public relations. He is pretty much solely responsible for crafting the caricature of a super rich, smart master of the universe, a narrative that successfully convinced enough of the electorate to get him elected. He is such a communications expert that he seems to have zero patience for nearly anyone speaking on his behalf. The examples of surrogates getting corrected — or, even worse, contradicted — by the President are legion. Further, Trump seems far more comfortable spinning (lying?) on behalf of his own desired narrative than his staff.
Kellyanne Conway, Sean Spicer and Sarah Huckabee Sanders have each taken turns as objects of public ridicule for their twisted logic and indefensible defenses of Trump’s apparent inconsistencies and hypocrisies. In many of these cases, reports then emerge that Trump is unhappy with their performances. Does any established public professional really want to step in any of their shoes?
The ugly truth is that the wrath of Trump, not to mention the long term infamy of speaking on behalf of this White House, does not appear worth any short term gains. Trump is by many measure a very tough boss. He is prone to ridiculing and teasing his staff and has reportedly criticize the talents of those who get up and speak on his behalf. And the only way it seems to truly please him is to, well, lie on his behalf without conceding that what you are saying is blatantly absurd.
Considering the avalanche of bombshells we are seeing surrounding the investigation into alleged collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian intelligence, its hard to imagine that the position of speaking on behalf Trump is an enviable one for anyone serious about his/her reputation.
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.