The Slatest

Donald Trump Is Hiring People for His Administration Based Partly on Their Looks

Donald Trump poses with beauty queens.

Mike Stobe/Getty Images for Golf Channel

Here’s a shocker: Donald Trump, owner of a beauty pageant and czar of schlocky reality TV, is apparently selecting people for top government positions, in part, based on their looks. And you thought nepotism was going to be the only potential violation of labor law in the Trump White House. Trump has, of course, remarked in the past how he liked the cut of Mitt Romney’s jib as America’s top diplomat and that one of the reasons he picked Mike Pence as his running mate is that “he looks very good.” Trump’s developing a bit of a reputation as a silver-fox guy. For new data points on Trump’s easy-on-the-eye criteria for public service, the Washington Post, on Wednesday, embarked on a waist-deep tour into the Trump psyche.

“Presentation is very important because you’re representing America not only on the national stage, but also the international stage depending on the position,” Trump transition spokesman Jason Miller explained to the Post, as if we were all studying abroad here in America. Presentation? Yeah, you know, the look. Like, does this guy have that Secretary of Agriculture look? That HUD je ne sais quoi? It’s not even much of a secret code really. Presumably anyone who’s under consideration for a Cabinet position owns a suit or pantsuit and gets their haircut with socially appropriate frequency, but it’s apparently not enough.

What else do we know about this look our president will be looking for? Here’s a real quote from a real person: “[Trump] likes people who present themselves very well and he’s very impressed when somebody has a background of being good on television because he thinks it’s a very important medium for public policy,” Chris Ruddy, CEO of Newsmax Media and a longtime friend of Trump told the Post. FFS.

Here are some other people speaking in thinly veiled code about Trump’s policy priority being hiring the hottest West Wing in history. From the Post:

Trump’s closest aides have come to accept that he is likely to rule out candidates if they are not attractive or not do not match his image of the type of person who should hold a certain job. “That’s the language he speaks. He’s very aesthetic,” said one person familiar with the transition team’s internal deliberations … “You can come with somebody who is very much qualified for the job, but if they don’t look the part, they’re not going anywhere … ”

Several of Trump’s associates said they thought that John R. Bolton’s brush-like mustache was one of the factors that handicapped the bombastic former United Nations ambassador in the sweepstakes for secretary of state. “Donald was not going to like that mustache,” said one associate, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to speak frankly. “I can’t think of anyone that’s really close to Donald that has a beard that he likes … ”

People close to Trump said he has been eager to tap a telegenic woman as press secretary or in some other public-facing role in his White House — both because he thinks it would attract viewers and would help inoculate him from the charges of sexism that trailed his presidential campaign.

Miraculously, after eight years of a Bush administration where decisions were made by a president’s gut, we’re back making sub-cranial decisions, just this time America’s braintrust is in Trump’s pants.