August 3, 2019

Five days after Trump suggested Rep. John Ratcliffe for Director of National Intelligence, Ratcliffe withdrew himself from consideration.

This follows a predictable pattern that I wrote about on July 28th at Hullabaloo.

1) Trump sees someone on TV, likes what he sees, BAM! Nominee!
2) The White House staff doesn't know who Trump is going to suggest for a job, so they have no time to vet them.
3) The media does the vetting for the White House, and gets opinions on the candidate from the GOP and gauges the level of push back from Dems. If GOP senators or congress have issues with the person they are quiet or bring it up vaguely.
4) When the media dig up real problems, like scandals, the nominee withdraws.
5) Trump keeps looking for his Bill Barr/Roy Cohn for key positions. Trump needs someone smart enough not to be caught in a scandal and craven enough to want to work for Trump.

This "intention to nominate" process gives Trump a way to slow down the real nomination process. Meanwhile, Trump has another acting director he can push around.

I don't want to make this sound like this is a strategic process for Trump. It's not. He does what he does, sees someone defending him on TV and wants to reward them with a job, whatever is available at the time.

However, as we have seen time and time again, this usually ends up hurting the person offered the position.

If Trump went to this staff and said, "I like this Ratcliffe guy! Let's make him DNI." They might have said, "Okay, let's check him out first. Remember what happened with Dr. Ronny Jackson?"
Trump: Who?
Staff: Your doctor. You nominated him to head the VA and the media found problems. Let's vet him first.
Trump: No. Ratcliffe has been elected many many times, and people say he's perfect for the position. If there were problems I would have heard of them by now. Coats is out. I want Ratcliffe in, now. I'm tweeting.

When writing about this five whole days ago, I found out that over 60 people Trump nominated had to withdraw. There is a whole page dedicated to it. With photos and everything!

In the past, administrations would vet, then do trial balloons of names. The staff might wish it was still that way, but they let Trump be Trump.

The White House non-vetting process reveals scandals candidates were involved in they hid before. Some dirt might never have been uncovered until they were put in the spotlight.

Remember when Trump nominated his personal physician to head the VA? That was sweet. Payback for saying Trump weighed 239?

Trump, "Tell the press I'm 6 foot 3, 239 pounds." Jackson, "Yes Mr. President! Of course! You are the tallest and fittest President, as any fool can plainly see." Credit: Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead

On April 26, 2018, Jackson withdrew his nomination as Secretary of Veterans Affairs. He returned to duty with the White House Medical Unit but will no longer serve as Physician to the President. On February 2, 2019, President Trump appointed Jackson to serve as Assistant to the President and Chief Medical Advisor, a new position in the Executive Office.

Sorry about the whole VA thing. You'll keep getting me the Adderall, right? Credit: Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead

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