Republican President-elect Donald Trump's quest to fill cabinet positions and make key hiring decisions looks more like a "casting call" for one of his beauty pageants, say some observers, with Trump turning away applicants who aren't attractive enough or -- to his thinking -- don't look right for the job.
According to the Washington Post, longtime friend and advisor Chris Ruddy of conservative website Newsmax said the former reality TV star has been meeting with cable news personalities and other media professionals because he wants his administration to have a certain "look."
“He 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,” Ruddy said. “Don’t forget, he’s a showbiz guy. He was at the pinnacle of showbiz and he thinks about showbiz. He sees this as a business that relates to the public.”
He continued, "The look might not necessarily be somebody who should be on the cover of GQ Magazine or Vanity Fair -- It’s more about the look and the demeanor and the swagger.”
Other aides described the hiring process almost as if it were one of Trump's beauty pageants.
“That’s the language he speaks. He’s very aesthetic,” said one aide to the Post. “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.”
One Trump confidant anonymously said that Neocon John Bolton's walrus mustache may have ultimately cost him the Secretary of State nomination.
“Donald was not going to like that mustache,” said the associate. “I can’t think of anyone that’s really close to Donald that has a beard that he likes.”
Trump favored both former Gov. Mitt Romney and Exxon-Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson over Bolton because they both had that "central casting" politician look, a phrase that Trump is apparently currently enamored with.
Trump has made it clear that he wants a "telegenic woman" to be his press secretary because "he thinks it would attract viewers and would help inoculate him from the charges of sexism that trailed his presidential campaign."
When campaign manager Kellyanne Conway turned down the job, the names Trump is still considering are all familiar to Fox News viewers: conservative pundits Laura Ingraham, Kimberly Guilfoyle and Monica Crowley.
“Presentation is very important because you’re representing America not only on the national stage, but also the international stage depending on the position,” said senior aide Jason Miller.