Of all the positions one can have working for Trump, there is none more predetermined to fail than chief of staff. (The sole possible exception is “wife.”) Trump’s chief of staff is tasked with forcing him to do the job of president when his preference is to binge-watch Fox News and gab on the phone with assorted kooks, most of whom are also from Fox News. The chief of staff is thrust into the role of stern, disapproving governess, while paradoxically having to treat his ward like a great man of history. The contradictions between Trump’s irrepressible infantilism and the need to conceal it leads Trump to humiliate whomever holds the position.
Even by the hopeless standards of the job, though, Trump has bolloxed the task of finding his third one in especially comic fashion. Several reports indicate that he kicked out his long-suffering second chief of staff, John Kelly, believing he had lined up Nick Ayers as a successor. Ayers was qualified by both traditional standards (he works in politics professionally, probably voted for Trump, and is not currently under indictment) and also by Trump’s special qualifications. “With a head of blond hair, Mr. Ayers somewhat resembles Mr. Trump in his younger days, a fact that the president often looks for as a positive signal,” the New York Times reports. You might wonder how this qualifies Ayers for the task, but since Trump failed with both a brown-haired chief of staff and a bald one, maybe the lack of physical resemblance was the issue.
But Ayers turned out not to want the job, a small catch Trump perhaps should have looked into before building his plan around the opposite assumption. Now Trump has no chief of staff and is lashing out at the news for reporting that top-rank talent is not exactly lining up to be the next subject of public mockery:
Did you hear that, fake news? The number of Americans willing to take the job is over ten. Double figures. Well, very low double figures, but still. Look, the unemployment rate is low right now; it’s hard to hire people. If a recession hits, Trump might find even more willing candidates.