Trump Cabinet auditions are less 'Apprentice,' more Miss Universe
© Getty Images

When you choose a president, you soon find out what he is made of.


Donald TrumpDonald TrumpTrump DOJ demanded metadata on 73 phone numbers and 36 email addresses, Apple says Putin says he's optimistic about working with Biden ahead of planned meeting Biden meets Queen Elizabeth for first time as president MORE's campaign revealed a person of enormous ego who felt the need to constantly devalue and belittle opponents. He actually seemed to enjoy demeaning and insulting his fellow candidates.

"Enjoy" is, in retrospect, too kind a word. He reveled.

No words were beneath him. Anything to get applause and cheers was his goal. There were no limits or boundaries of decency or good taste.

To Trump, it was one big show.

He was the star. No one else counted.

Tragically for our country, this childish behavior was rewarded. Now we are seeing but another facet of Trump's persona.

It is being played out in the transition process.

In the past, individuals who have been elected to the highest office in the land conducted themselves with class and dignity. They knew that this was a sensitive time and the nation was getting a first glimpse into how a future president operates.

Above all, past presidents-elect showed a deep sensibility for those being considered for Cabinet jobs and other important positions close to the president.

Those standards of conduct have been thrown out with Trump, however.

Apparently, Trump has no desire whatsoever to adhere to behavior or conduct which takes into account the feelings of others. This is proven daily by the spectacle unfolding at Trump Tower in New York City.

Individuals being considered for positions of power have to traipse through the lobby in front of countless cameras. Then go into the gold-plated elevator and then, after meeting with Trump, come down the elevator and wave to the cameras and faintly smile or say a few cursory words.

There are no graceful exits.

Discretion? Forget it. Pete Wehner, a speechwriter for President George W. Bush, said it best in the Financial Times:

He appears to want to force people to audition for their jobs in public, not in private, and prove he's in charge, the dominant player, the alpha male. He wants to signal to the world that he's the king and force others to perform before his throne.

Those who choose to endure this ritual do not seem to understand that Trump is extracting quite a toll. If you decide to play this game and are ultimately not chosen, you risk being totally humiliated.

The entire world will have witnessed your humiliation.

There are some candidates for high appointive office who don't seem to mind being used, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani being the prime example. Giuliani seems to relish in touting himself in the lobby, to no avail.

Mitt Romney, the 2008 GOP nominee who previously called Trump a "phony," "conman" and "fraud," has strategically swallowed those sentiments and now contently assumes the role of eager supplicant.

He even allowed cameras to record his private dinner with Trump.

Is the lure of power and high office so sweet and seductive that otherwise rational individuals will sacrifice all dignity and self-respect?

There have been comparisons to Trump's old TV show, "The Apprentice."

In fact, it has been suggested that the new version should be called "The Appointee."

What this really is, however, is a present-day version of the Miss Universe pageant (which Trump used to own).

Totally un-presidential.

Mark Plotkin is a political analyst, a contributor to the BBC on American politics and a columnist for The Georgetowner.

The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the views of The Hill.