Being president of the United States of America is, to put it mildly, hard work. It’s an incredibly taxing job that involves making an untold number of decisions—a few big and splashy, the vast majority small-bore and likely to go unnoticed unless something goes catastrophically wrong—that will impact millions and millions of people. Setting aside the power and the prestige, the day-to-day job doesn’t sound like one Donald Trump would actually want. And, according to his top campaign strategist, he doesn’t.
Here’s Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort in a recent Huffington Post interview talking about the importance of his boss’ selection of a running mate. Pay particular attention to the bit where Manafort talks about “the part of the job” of being president that his boss has no interest in actually doing:
The vice presidential pick will also be part of the process of proving he’s ready for the White House, Manafort said. “He needs an experienced person to do the part of the job he doesn’t want to do. He seems himself more as the chairman of the board, than even the CEO, let alone the COO.”
“There is a long list of who that person could be,” Manafort added, “and every one of them has major problems.” The campaign probably won’t choose a woman or a member of a minority group, he said. “In fact, that would be viewed as pandering, I think.”
For those of you don’t speak MBA, the chief executive is a company’s top decision-maker while the chief operating officer or president typically handles the day-to-day operation. (POTUS is probably best thought of as a combination of the two, though his or her chief of staff also has some COO-like duties.) A company’s chairman of the board takes a significantly broader view of long-term strategy and stays out of the daily grind all together.
Manafort has had a long and (sadly) successful career reinventing some of the world’s nastiest tyrants as noble defenders of freedom, and he’s already off to a solid start repeating that here since being hired by Trump earlier this year. He’s tried to assure the Republican establishment that much of Trump’s primary performance was all just an act, and many in the party have either been convinced or realize it’s in their best interest to pretend to agree.
Here we see Manafort make that no-reason-to-be-terrified pitch directly to the general public. Manafort is laying the groundwork for something resembling a GOP unity ticket, where Trump die hards focus on their man at the top of the ticket and Trump-skeptical Republicans focus on the establishment figure sitting in the No. 2 slot, who they’re told will actually run the government day to day. I guess he has good evidence that the party would be cool with that.