The political fallout of President Trump firing FBI Director James Comey will continue including Trump’s admission that he did so with the goal of ending the FBI’s investigation into his presidential campaign’s connections with Russia. But as that plays out, Trump is playing yet another version of The Apprentice, this time with who will replace Comey.
Trump no doubt loves The Apprentice-type game when it comes to filling key positions. We only need to look to other instances of the president publically bringing in contenders for a particular role.
Let’s remember how things played out leading to the selection of Neil Gorsuch for a seat on the Supreme Court. The speculation parlor game is something that Trump clearly enjoys. In fact, the White House let it be known back in January that there were two finalists for the position, Gorsuch and Thomas Hardiman of Massachusetts.
The public knew the backstory of each one and he reportedly asked both to come to Washington in advance of a prime time, network television announcement. Only hours before the TV spectacle was it known that Gorsuch was the man.
We can even look to the parade of potential cabinet members in and out of Trump Tower in New York, each dutifully reporting for their interviews. The nominating process was turned into an Apprentice-like game. Sad.
There was the sad, public dangling of the secretary of state position in front of previous Trump critic Mitt Romney and Trump sycophant Rudy Giuliani.
Even the vice presidential pick reeked of a reality show. Pence? Gingrich? Christie? Carson? Corker? Palin? Scott? Portman? Perry? We had to stay tuned so we could see who would be eliminated.
Now, after Trump infamously told James Comey, “You’re fired,” he is lining up candidates for the latest Apprentice position—FBI director. The top eight candidates were said to have been interviewed over the weekend by Attorney General Jeff Session and Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein.
They are: Adam Lee (FBI special agent in charge of Richmond, Virginia office), Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas (clearly a partisan choice), Judge Michael Garcia (New York state’s highest court and former federal prosecutor), Alice Fisher (Justice Department official under George W. Bush), acting bureau director Andrew McCabe (publically contradicted Trump’s assertion that FBI rank and file had lost confidence in Comey), Federal Judge Henry Hudson, Frances Townsend (former homeland security advisor to George W. Bush), and Mike Rogers (former GOP congressman, former FBI agent, familiar face on cable news shows on all things national security).
We can safely assume that Trump will draw out this nomination while keeping in mind that whomever he chooses will have to approved by the Senate. That might play against Cornyn. Then again, Trump doesn’t seem to care that other people may like his choice. McCabe may have been eliminated when he blatantly contradicted Trump.
There’s been further speculation that the pick could be made this week, before Trump leaves for a major foreign pick. The public blowback against Trump for firing Comey apparently came a surprise to the president and other (clueless) advisors in the West Wing. That may curtail Trump milking this selection for everything it’s worth.