Why President Trump Keeps Hiring Cable TV Pundits
Before he ran for office, Donald Trump spent a lot of time in cable TV green rooms. His presidential campaign benefited greatly from cable news coverage. As president, he reportedly watches quite a bit of CNN, MSNBC and Fox News.
So it shouldn’t be surprising that Trump has sought to staff his Administration with some friendly cable pundits.
In March, Trump hired CNBC commentator and economist Larry Kudlow to be director of the National Economic Council, named former U.N. ambassador and cable news mainstay John Bolton as national security advisor and promoted former “Fox and Friends” host Heather Nauert as an acting under-secretary in the State Department.
They weren’t the only pundits to go from the green room to the White House.
Former Deputy National Security Adviser K.T. McFarland regularly appeared on Fox News as a commentator for years. Short-lived White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci was a frequent presence on Fox Business Network. And Carl Higbie, a former spokesman for the agency that runs AmeriCorps, was a guest on cable news shows.
Not all of the hires have worked out.
Trump has been rumored to have considered Fox News host Jeanine Pirro for deputy attorney general and Fox contributor Pete Hegseth for secretary of Veterans Affairs, though neither got the job. And Fox contributor Monica Crowley withdrew from consideration for deputy national security advisor over a plagiarism scandal.
He’s is not the first president to look for a reassuring face from cable news to fill his Administration. President Obama once considered hiring CNN’s Sanjay Gupta for surgeon general.
Some of these positions involve representing the Administration’s viewpoints on TV, so it makes sense that Trump would turn to them. As a president who is particularly focused on salesmanship, he’s also more likely to hire based on those skills. And some of these pundits also have real-world experience: Bolton worked in the George W. Bush Administration and Kudlow worked in the Reagan Administration.
But the sheer number of cable pundits that Trump has hired or considered hiring shows how much more seriously he takes cable news than his predecessors. For Trump, selling his presidency on cable news is a full-time job.