Just in case Americans still had any doubt about whether or not Fox News was a state media agency — a for-profit media extension of the Trump administration — Donald Trump is here to erase it for you with today’s hiring of a replacement Communications Director.
When Hope Hicks walked off the job on the morning of March 29th, the guy that Trump would hire today wasn’t even mentioned among potentials to replace her. That shortlist was taken up entirely by Mercedes Schlapp, a woman eventually accused of abusing her connections with Trump to benefit her communications firm, Cove Strategies, and by Tony Sayegh, the spokesman for the Treasury that is described in D.C. circles as a “terrible bully.”
It’s almost surprising to see Sayegh not get the job, with a reputation like that. Trump can ill afford another Scott Pruitt-like official in Schlapp, and Trump favors those who simply take what they want, feelings and decorum be damned. Also, Hope Hicks herself liked Sayegh to replace her, after his work on messaging and PR for the GOP tax bill. But many insiders believed that if Trump wanted either of those candidates, he’d have simply given them the job already with no waiting period.
In fact, Trump wanted Bill Shine, the Fox News executive who resigned in disgrace after having covered up multiple sexual discrimination and harassment lawsuits and settlements at the network. But back in March when Hicks hit the road, Shine had already made it clear he didn’t want the job.
Trump doesn’t take no for an answer, though, and clearly, he valued Shine’s experience with enabling predators like Bill O’Reilly and Roger Ailes for a job in which he will undoubtedly be required to enable the predator in chief himself. He held out for the man he actually wanted, and today, Bill Shine relented.
In a White House statement provided to New Century Times and other media outlets, the administration announced their excitement at having the cover-up professional on their team:
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 5, 2018
President Donald J. Trump Announces Senior Staff Appointment
President Donald J. Trump announced today that Bill Shine will join the White House staff. Mr. Shine will serve as Assistant to the President and Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications. He brings over two decades of television programming, communications, and management experience to the role. Previously, Mr. Shine served as Co-President of Fox News Channel and Fox Business Network.
I don’t suppose any of us really need to act surprised — it’s not like the Trump administration is even pretending to care about anything but themselves anymore.
Featured image via Getty Images/Pool/Eric Lesser