Saturday, December 17, 2016

Trump Parade More Entertaining Than Macy's

Generally, Macy’s Parade is the talk of the town in New York City over Thanksgiving, with their massive inflated cartoon characters and beautiful floats. This year saw Miss Piggy even rescuing nonagenarian crooner Tony Bennett, who nearly fell off his float.

But another parade has been going on in New York City this year at Trump Tower, where those who would like consideration for a cabinet position in President-elect Donald Trump’s administration have entered, one at a time, for several weeks now.

Imagine the irony: Old Trump campaign foes from Mitt Romney to Carly Fiorina heading into Trump Tower, going up to Trump’s plush suite of offices. After their time with the president-elect, they come out to tell the world how positive and constructive the conversation with Trump had been. Suddenly, the man who was decried by them as unfit for the role of president is seen as a visionary leader.

What happened in those meetings with the president-elect to convert some of these office seekers? Was it the same Donald Trump they had such problems with before? Had he shown them a new side of himself they liked better?

Trump didn’t have to show a new side to his personality. What had changed was simply Trump’s victory. Those office seekers who had problems with Trump have, unsurprisingly, not let those past issues get in the way of a possible cabinet-level appointment.

Taken one way, these ambitious politicos can look rather cravenly, trading in their principles for a bit of power in the new administration. Taken another way, if they feel their previous objections to Trump were not that serious, then they may have resolved they can work under Trump after all.

Still, one wonders what Mitt Romney felt like the day he heard the coveted secretary of state position would go to someone else. He had two very public meetings with Trump as part of the process for being considered for the office. He was even photographed having dinner with Trump, a rare personal moment not given to every visitor to Trump Tower recently.

After each visit with Trump, Romney had only positive words to say about the president-elect. Of course, this is part of the process. But considering all the negative back-and-forth the GOP’s last two presidential nominees had to say about each other in the past year, who would have thought they’d see the day?

Whether or not Trump ever seriously considered Romney for secretary of state, look at what the president-elect received as a result of treating his old adversary with respect. For at least considering Romney for secretary of state, Trump appeared more reasonable to Trump’s new allies in the GOP establishment.

Moreover, Trump has neutralized Romney — at least for the foreseeable future — who had been one of his sharpest Republican critics with national media access.

Not bad for a few days’ work. Say what one will about President-elect Trump, he certainly seems to have a keen grasp of what is most important to those he negotiates with, whether in a business deal or a political dance.

Perhaps someday we will have more details from those former Trump adversaries — and there are many — who had their individual face time with the president. Was Trump gracious? Threatening somehow? Perhaps a combination of the two?

Whatever Trump’s tactics in such situations, there seems to be an understanding that those who have had a moment in the political limelight are almost always ready for another dose of it.

The president-elect has already shown a shrewd ability to milk the prestige of his future office to his political benefit. He uses the power derived from his election victory to grab the headlines, to keep the media guessing and to neutralize former foes.

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