Donald Trump's White House counsel seemed a thankless job because it mostly consisted of telling the president "no" when something was illegal. But that wasn't the perception that Ivanka Trump had when helping craft the White House staff team in 2017.
The "first daughter," as she became known in the press, appeared to mistake the role of White House Counsel as a kind of legal pundit for Donald Trump. In Maggie Haberman's new book, "Confidence Man," the New York Times reporter revealed that Pam Bondi was the Ivanka's suggestion for the position.
"Crucial jobs were filled not based on qualifications or informed by vetting, but because of perceived loyalty and sheer proximity. It had long been anticipated that the campaign’s counsel, Donald McGahn II, would become the White House counsel, but Trump’s daughter had other suggestions," the book describes.
“Pam Bondi can be the White House lawyer,” Haberman quoted Ivanka Trump saying "in one transition meeting, waving her hands as though dispatching a simple decision."
Bondi was later hired by the White House communications director, Stephanie Grisham, to serve as a kind of cable news spokesperson for Donald Trump's first impeachment defense. She then spoke at the impeachment hearings blaming Trump's quid pro quo on Joe Biden.
The kind of cavalier attitude was consistent with many hirings in the beginning. It was not unlike when Goldman Sachs executive Gary Cohn came to deliver an economic policy briefing and Trump demanded he take on a job, any job, in the administration.
"It took only a few minutes for Trump to conclude that he wanted to hire Cohn on the spot," Haberman's book describes. "It was the type of impulsive personnel acquisition he had used to staff his business over the years."
“You’re gonna work for me,” Trump told Cohn, who Haberman says demurred. “No, no, no, you’re not listening,” Trump pushed back. “You should be the deputy defense secretary.”
"Cohn, who had no military experience, made clear the Pentagon post would be a bad match for him," the book continues. "Trump then grabbed a list of cabinet positions and began offering various ones to Cohn. Steve Mnuchin, an old friend of Trump’s who had raised money for the campaign and who wanted to be the treasury secretary (and who was warned by McGahn and Bossie that Kushner was holding separate meetings with possible candidates for the job), hovered during the meeting. It was only well after that meeting that Cohn agreed to be an economic adviser and director of the National Economic Council."
Haberman's book, "Confidence Man" is available on sale Tuesday and Raw Story has full coverage here.