The Fox News presidency continues to take shape, as Trump is reportedly considering the network's former co-president Bill Shine for White House communications director.
The Trump administration and Fox News continue to merge into a twisted version of political reality TV. Trump is reportedly looking at Bill Shine, the network’s former co-president, as his new communications director.
And this comes in the wake of three other right-wing TV personalities Trump has eyed for or named to top posts.
Reporting on Trump’s “week of turbulence,” CNN notes that he is “slated to discuss the open position of communications director” with Shine.
It is a bizarre decision to begin with. Shine turned down the exact same position in August 2017 after the very brief tenure of Anthony Scaramucci.
And it’s a troubling choice for Trump to revisit. Shine was forced out of his executive role at Fox in May 2017 over his poor handling of sexual harassment claims at the company. Indeed, victims alleged that Shine intentionally worked to cover up their accusations.
Of course, taking the side of alleged abusers over their victims would hardly be seen as a negative by Trump.
And tapping someone from his favorite network is distressingly par for the course, particularly just in the last week.
On Tuesday, Trump abruptly fired both Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Under Secretary Steve Goldstein. The same day, he promoted the department’s spokesperson Heather Nauert to replace Goldstein.
Before joining the State Department in April 2017, Nauert worked as a Fox News anchor and correspondent since 1996. She also appeared regularly on “Fox & Friends,” Trump’s go-to morning show.
On Thursday, the Washington Post reported that Trump was looking at Pete Hegseth, another “Fox & Friends” personality, to replace Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin.
And a report from Axios two days earlier made that news less of a surprise than it might have been. Trump had actually called Hegseth during a meeting with Shulkin to get the Fox host’s opinion on legislation to address problems at the VA.
These Fox recruits are also accompanied by the hiring of former CNBC host Larry Kudlow as Trump’s new top economic adviser. Kudlow will replace Gary Cohn, who resigned after Trump instigated a potential trade war with an announcement of massive new tariffs on steel imports.
Trump formed his opinion of Kudlow based on seeing him on television. When offering him the job by phone, Trump actually told him, “You’re looking handsome, Larry.”
But the job doesn’t hinge on good looks; it requires deep knowledge and understanding of economics. Yet Kudlow doesn’t even have an economics degree. And he continued to insist there was no recession coming even as it was already beginning.
Nobel-prize winning economist Paul Krugman put it bluntly: Kudlow is “reliably wrong about everything.”
Which makes him the perfect fit for Trump’s Fox News presidency.
Trump repeatedly promised during the campaign that he would fill his administration with “the best people.”
Instead, he’s taking the dregs of right-wing television and elevating them to top government posts. Because no one else will take the jobs.