I need to begin with a disclaimer. I have medium to low confidence in the notion that when Reince Priebus recently joined the Naval Reserves it meant more than what appears on the surface. And how did it appear on the surface? As a grown, not very mature, not very bright man playing “sailor boy,” nothing more. We’ve got plenty of examples of that kind of piffle over here, by the way, with the British Royal Family.
Yes, yes, yes, I know, some of them – most notably and recently Prince Harry – “meant it,” to one degree or another. But you can never convince me that there isn’t a wide gap between entering a military institution under the privileged shroud of entitlement and what a rank-and-file grunt must endure – sans any of the accompanying notice or glory. Reince will never convince me he became a “mere” Naval Reservist when he was, in fact, sworn in to that service by the vanilla Vice President of the United States.
So it is with an abundance of caution, and all the disclaiming language applicable there unto, that I say that there might, just might, be more going on here than meets the eye. These are dangerous times, so dangerous in fact that very little happens at the higher levels of government that do not carry with them the sinister overtones of subterfuge. So it would be dangerous to ignore even something so remotely and vaguely sinister as Donald Trump’s former Chief of Staff joining the Reserves. It makes me want to ask a question of Reince Priebus, and not a rhetorical one at that, just what the hell are you up to here, Reince?
Permit me to offer a possible scenario. First it’s important you understand that the official White House press release notes that Priebus, 47, was commissioned as an ensign, “the junior rank in the Navy.” Read: the junior OFFICER rank in the Navy. I hasten to add there is nothing unusual about that, anyone with a college degree will go into the reserves as an officer. But it’s interesting how it’s being understated. And it was also discovered, through a longtime political insider, that Priebus will serve as a human resources officer.
In short, Reince Priebus will be in a perfect operational position to gauge the temperature of the average sailor. He will be the best kind of thermometer or barometer, a passive one, listening to and noting who in the department of the Navy is for Trump and who is against him. Without needing to utter a single word of propaganda or spin, Naval personnel will approach him and tell him what they think of Trump. All he has to do is listen. And report.
Were I a betting man, I’d bet against this scenario. But given what Trump is, and given what the people around him are capable of, and given the blasé attitude of most of Trump’s staff to the rule of law, I would not be at all surprised if it were true, that Reince Priebus has joined the Naval Reserve as a spy, together with his other fellow reservist, Sean Spicer. Like I said, these are dangerous times.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.