Dan Pfeffer. Kevin Sullivan. Jen Psaki. Ellen Moran. Jennifer Palmeri. Anita Dunn. Nicole Wallace. Dan Bartlett. Karen Hughes.
Recognize any of those names? I don’t. If you do, you’re probably a White House wonk. But my guess is that you don’t either. Those are the ten White House Communications Directors that held the position before Donald Trump came to office. There’s been 33 of them in all since the role was founded in 1960. I’ve heard of two of them.
How about Bill Daley? Joshua Bolton? Pete Rouse? Ring a bell?
Those are four of the White House Chiefs of Staff that have served at the leisure of Presidents Obama and the latter Bush. There’s been 21 of them since the position was formally created under Harry Truman 72 years ago. I can tell you something other than their name for less than half of them.
Yesterday, as I sat in a meeting in my office with a few team members, the push notifications started rolling in on my phone. Anthony Scaramucci, the White House Communications Director, hired ten days earlier had been fired on the same day that John Kelly took over as White House Chief of Staff after the last guy was fired the previous week. Everyone’s phones buzzed. People took a moment, gasped and shook their heads. We talked about it for a few minutes and got back to business.
I don’t work in Washington. Or in politics. I work in the technology sector in California.
Everyone in the room knew exactly who Anthony Scaramucci was. Because the White House Press Secretary, Sean Spicer, resigned the week before when Scaramucci was appointed. And then Scaramucci gave an interview to The New Yorker that had lots of swear words in it and claimed that another White House team member, Steve Bannon, was trying to fellate himself.
I knew who Sean Spicer was because Melissa McCarthy, the highest paid female comedic actor on the planet, played him in a reoccurring role on Saturday Night Live.
Rosie O’Donnell was going to play Bannon on SNL. But she decided not to. I know that because there was another news story about that. In fact, if I Google Rosie, whose been in show business for thirty years, five of the top ten links are about her feud with Donald Trump.
As for Saturday Night Live, they hit a six-year ratings high this year. Six members of the Trump Cabinet have been portrayed on the show. As well as Mrs. Trump. They already had skits written for Scaramucci, though I’m sure they’ve been changed by now. That makes seven.
I’m not sure if I can name seven concurrent cabinet members of more than two or three presidents.
Cable news is having its best ratings year ever despite it not being an election year and the industry leader Fox firing both its founder/CEO and top show host because they couldn’t stop getting sued by women they worked with for sexually inappropriate behavior.
Twitter grew nine million monthly users during the first quarter of 2017, it’s largest growth in four years.
And the President? How’s he doing? Who knows. My guess is just fine if you ask him. He’s a hit. His ratings are “yuge”.
As for us, America? A little less so I think. Eleanor Roosevelt said it well when she said, “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.”
Right now, our minds are really small.
As for me. I’ll try to spend a little more time on the why. And a little less on the who. And if my answer to the why is a who, then I’m probably doing it wrong again.