Earlier today the news broke that Donald Trump is re-hiring Hope Hicks for a White House position. This is surreal, but not necessarily surprising. Now it turns out she isn’t the only one, because Trump is also re-hiring Sean Spicer and Reince Priebus for White House gigs. Wait a minute here, this makes no sense on the surface, so let’s take a look at the one underlying thing that’s probably driving this.
We all know why Donald Trump is bringing back Hope Hicks. By all accounts they had a positive working relationship. She’s making a mistake by coming back, but it’s a sensible move for him. Most of us would re-hire a productive former employee, if we never wanted them to leave in the first place. But why Spicer and Priebus? Trump clearly hated working with those guys.
If you take a look at the White House press release – released two days ago but dug up today by Salon and Raw Story and others – you’ll see that Spicer and Priebus aren’t being given what you’d call “real” jobs. They’ve each been named to the “President’s Commission on White House Fellowships” – which is the kind of nonsensical position that you give to someone when you want to formally bring someone back into the fold, but you don’t want to actually work with them, or have them do anything for you.
In other words, Donald Trump doesn’t want Reince Priebus and Sean Spicer around. He’s simply decided that he needs them in the fold right now. In other words he needs them to remain loyal because he expects things to get ugly, or he needs to tap into whatever remaining influence they still have from their time in charge of the RNC, or some other transactional reason. We don’t yet know what the specifics are, but it’ll likely become apparent soon enough.
Bill Palmer is the publisher of the political news outlet Palmer Report