Photo (CC) by Glyn Lowe
Photo (CC) by Glyn Lowe

Politico magazine just today released a fascinating set of articles detailing what the West Wing would look like for each of the two presidential nominees, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, if they were elected. They are in-depth, well sourced and worth discussion as we are merely 5 days away from making one of these articles a reality. The portrayal of a Trump presidency was authored by Ben Schreckinger, while Anne Karni tackled the Clinton camp.

The Players

I wrote a post just a little while back here about a long form piece Huffington Post’s Highline did on what a Donald Trump administration would look like as it pertained to national security and foreign affairs. It’s no secret that Trump favors loyalty and novelty above actual political experience (as he himself is not a member of the Republican establishment) and especially in light of several GOP heavyweights distancing themselves from the candidate after the Access Hollywood controversy, Trump more than ever has recourse to hire from within. Here are some notable picks Schreckinger pegged for Trump’s cabinet:

  • Ivanka Trump as special advisor: Trump has made it almost painfully obvious who he views as the favorite child of his five, and Ivanka Trump uses that title skillfully to provide a softening effect to her father’s often brash hard edge political style. The article noted that even if she wasn’t officially hired to the West Wing, it’s almost certain that she would continue in an advisory role behind the scenes.
  • Corey Lewandowski as Chief of Staff: Lewandowski is the penultimate ‘Comeback Kid’ of this election season, swallowing the bitter pill of a dishonorable discharge of sorts from his post as Trump campaign manager after scandals like his reported assault of a reporter at a rally, and abashedly returning, hat in hand, to Trump’s aid on an unofficial level even after being replaced by Paul Manafort. If Trump allowed him back into the fold, it’s pretty clear that he genuinely likes the guy and values his opinions, making him the perfect choice for Chief of Staff (probably the most important advisory role in the administration apart from the Vice President).
  • Michael Flynn as national security advisor: Flynn was one of the top campaign members being considered for Trump’s vice president slot, along with Chris Christie and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, and had Pence not proved to be the best ally political-wise, chances are Flynn would have been Trump’s choice. With that being said, Flynn’s wealth of military expertise (retired lieutenant general and former director of the Defense Intelligence Agency under Obama) and close relationship with Trump makes him the obvious pick for this important job. As the article puts it, “besides an affinity with Putin’s regime, Flynn shares with Trump a desire to jail Hillary Clinton: Flynn encouraged chants from the floor of “lock her up” during an awkward speech at the Republican National Conventional in Cleveland in July.”

Hillary Clinton’s cabinet will most likely similarly feature a lot of familiar faces, but also include new blood in the form of “skilled operatives who more recently proved themselves during perhaps the most grueling campaign in American history.” And with Clinton still leading in many polls so close to the election, these cabinet picks might be even more important than Trump’s to consider.

  • Bill Clinton as special advisor: As Karni wrote, “the former president still edits his wife’s speeches, sits in on her debate prep sessions and was often at the table for major strategic campaign decisions.” Hillary still trusts and values her husband and has stood by him through numerous scandals, showing a deep bond that will definitely translate to the White House. Whether Bill gets an official title or not, expect to see him around the West Wing as often as we saw Hillary there during his presidency.
  • Huma Abedin as personal aide: I will admit, this choice totally flabbergasted me because one could point out that a lot of the blame for Clinton’s last minute dip in the polls goes to the individuals responsible for the FBI’s reopening of the email investigation, which is presumably Abedin and her estranged husband Anthony Weiner. It would make sense for Clinton to want to distance herself from the embattled couple until the investigation dies down and the media dust settles. Yet the article points out that Abedin has been working closely under Clinton for some 20 years now, and despite scandals in her personal life, Abedin has been a loyal sidekick and it’s definitely possible she’ll be in the White House next January.
  • Cheryl Mills as senior advisor: No brainer here – Mills was Clinton’s chief of staff during her time at the State Department, represented husband Bill during his impeachment trials, and even prepared Clinton for the marathon Benghazi hearings. Mills is described as “no-nonsense,” telling Hillary like it is and that’s an asset to the possible future president.

It’s certainly something to mull over during this pre-election weekend, as the candidates prepare for the fight of their lives, and America prepares to chose the next leader of the free world.

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