No business like show business

Trump isn’t so much filling cabinet posts as he is selecting beauty pageant contestants. It’s what he knows.

Donald Trump believes that those who aspire to the most visible spots in his administration should not just be able to do the job, but also look the part.

That’s ironic, isn’t it, because he so thoroughly doesn’t look the part himself. The brassy hair falling down over the jacket collar? The necktie practically reaching his crotch? The mystifying, ludicrous, distracting comb-over? The terrible dye-job? The orange skin? The constant blowfish face? The stupid puppety gestures? The scowls and pouts? He doesn’t look the part. He looks like The Joker.

But that’s not the point, of course. The point is…he should have better criteria.

“He likes people who present themselves very well, and he’s very impressed when somebody has a background of being good on television because he thinks it’s a very important medium for public policy,” said Chris Ruddy, chief executive of Newsmax Media and a longtime friend of Trump. “Don’t forget, he’s a showbiz guy. He was at the pinnacle of showbiz, and he thinks about showbiz. He sees this as a business that relates to the public.”

Well…yes and no. He wasn’t really at “the pinnacle of showbiz” – he was at the pinnacle of getting people to watch a particular “reality” tv show. He appealed to some people’s taste for watching a bully bullying people. That doesn’t necessarily transfer to show business as a whole.

Battling through the GOP primary, Trump frequently made barbed comments about his opponents’ appearances.

Those kind of skin-deep standards helped make Trump a success as a reality-television star and international brand, but his critics say they are worrisome in the Oval Office.

His personnel choices show signs of being “cast for the TV show of his administration,” said Bob Killian, founder of a branding agency based in Chicago. “They are all perfectly coifed people who look like they belong on a set.”

But Trump spokesman Miller insisted that some qualifications do not lend themselves to lines on a résumé: “People who are being selected for these key positions need to be able to hold their own, need to be doers and not wallflowers, and need to convey a clear sense of purpose and commitment.”

But all this holding and doing and commitment isn’t valuable in itself. It depends on the content of what they’re doing. Style matters, but not more than substance.

All of which has led him to some unconventional picks. If confirmed by the Senate, ExxonMobil chief executive Rex Tillerson will become the first secretary of state in modern history to come to the job with no experience in government. Then again, Trump himself has none.

Yes exactly, and that’s a bad thing.

Trump’s closest aides have come to accept that he is likely to rule out candidates if they are not attractive or not do not match his image of the type of person who should hold a certain job.

“That’s the language he speaks. He’s very aesthetic,” said one person familiar with the transition team’s internal deliberations who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “You can come with somebody who is very much qualified for the job, but if they don’t look the part, they’re not going anywhere.”

Several of Trump’s associates said they thought that John R. Bolton’s brush-like mustache was one of the factors that handicapped the bombastic former United Nations ambassador in the sweepstakes for secretary of state.

That’s hilarious. He dislikes Bolton’s mustache, but he likes his own hair??

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