On Tuesday, I argued that former President Trump would greatly advance his chances in the fall if, upon winning the nomination — and that could effectively be over on the night of the New Hampshire primary or Super Tuesday, March 5 — he names his running mate very early and turns him or her loose to fundraise and make media magic for nine months, not three.
The ‘great mentioner’ likes Senators Tom Cotton, Joni Ernst or Dan Sullivan, former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Wisconsin Congressman Mike Gallagher, or former National Security Advisor Ambassador Robert O’Brien. The last two can deliver the fundraising and the messaging as well as votes in Gallagher’s Wisconsin or the states of Arizona and Nevada where O’Brien’s membership in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints brings some LDS votes to Trump, and it is a block with which he has trouble.
If Trump goes the Full Monty and drops ‘the list’ from which most, if not all, his senior appointees will be drawn — and yes, it is legal to do so — he will supercharge the election with surrogates who matter and who flood media platforms and fundraisers.
Here’s my fantasy draft of folks who could help Trump around the margins immediately, raise dough, appear on cable and could begin as early as Trump wills it. (Note: I’ve used all of the potential VPs in other jobs as only one can be down the hall from the Oval):
Secretary of State: O’Brien, Nikki Haley
Department of Defense: Pompeo, Gallagher, Rep. Michael Waltz
Secretaries of Navy, Army, Air Force: Gallagher, Waltz and Rep. August Pfluger who are veterans of these services and know their own service. Whomever comes in should commit to four years of setting these branches right, deep selecting military leadership where necessary.
Director of National Intelligence and Director of Central Intelligence: John Ratcliffe, Gallagher or Waltz
Attorney General: Cotton, Senators Lindsey Graham, Josh Hawley or Eric Schmitt (This has got to be a senator to assure rapid confirmation and they have to be indifferent to Beltway critics).
Deputy Attorney General: Daniel Cameron, former Attorney General of Kentucky
Solicitor General: Christopher Landau
2024 TRUMP-BIDEN REMATCH WILL BE AN ELECTION LIKE NO OTHER
FBI: A former U.S. Attorney like Stephen Cox or Tim Garrison (There are plenty of great former USAs who held office under Trump like these and who would, like these two, clean house on the top floor on day one and would not indulge agents with vendettas against Trump as James Comey permitted or encouraged).
Treasury: Steve Mnuchin or Governor Glenn Youngkin
OMB: Robert Lighthizer, Kevin Hassett or Russ Hauth (provided Hauth committed to a 4% GPD Defense Budget).
DHS: Dr. Jay Bhattacharya (and listen to him for the CDC and FDA).
Department of Education: Hillsdale President Larry Arnn (There’s a reason the college’s monthly newsletter has 2 million subscribers), Arthur Brooks, Senator J.D. Vance, Youngkin.
Agriculture: Governor Doug Burgum
Commerce: Lewis Eisenberg, Youngkin
WILL 2024 BE A CONTEST BETWEEN TWO LIGHTWEIGHTS PRETENDING TO BE HEAVYWEIGHTS?
EPA: Andrew Wheeler
Office of the Trade Representative: Lighthizer or Matt Pottinger. Lighthizer did it before. If he gets promoted, Pottinger can deal with the Chinese better than anyone else.
Office of Personnel Management: Stephen Miller. You would need a Senate majority, obviously, but if you are going to take on the administrative state, take it on. Visibly. With flags flying.
Interior: Doug Ducey. He knows the issues and is extremely competent.
Labor: Schmitt or Senator Shelley Moore Capito
Energy: Dan Brouillette returns.
HUD: Ben Carson returns or former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, who tackled homelessness in America’s finest city.
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Transportation: B. Marc Allen from Boeing or another senior and extremely competent and experienced transportation executive.
The SCOTUS short list: Circuit Court Judges Amul Thapar, James Ho, Barbara Lagoa, Neomi Rao, Don Willett, Senators Ted Cruz and Mike Lee, or Paul Clement (at 57, Clement is older but far and away the best qualified).
Ambassador to China: Pottinger or Lighthizer
National Endowment for the Humanities: Brooks or Christopher Rufo
National Endowment for the Arts: Brooks or Carol Platt Liebau. (These two jobs are missionaries to the culture, high-profile ambassadors to the elites who have to out think the left every day and all three are extremely able to carry out that mission. Liebau was the managing editor of the Harvard Law Review when former President Obama was its ‘president.’ She knows the score).
Chief of Staff: Richard Grennell (You need an enforcer)
National Security Advisor: O’Brien, Pottinger, John Noonan, Omri Ceren, Mary Kissel
Counsel to the President: (Ask Leonard Leo for a reliable D.C. heavyweight as a Don McGahn and Pat Cipollone were in the first term.)
Comms Director: Jason Miller
Press Secretary: Guy Benson and Mary Katharine Ham
Counselors to the President: Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, Chris LaCivita, Susie Wiles
Domestic Policy Council: Lanhee Chen
Economic Policy Council: Larry Kudlow, Stephen Moore
Chair of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board: General Jack Keane (USA, Ret.)
Name them. Turn them loose on cable and to campaign and raise money. Win big. Trump gets the second term he wants and needs and the ‘dictator is coming’ crowd looks really stupid.
Hugh Hewitt is one of the country’s leading journalists of the center-right. A son of Ohio and a graduate of Harvard College and the University of Michigan Law School, Hewitt has been a Professor of Law at Chapman University’s Fowler School of Law since 1996 where he teaches Constitutional Law. Hewitt launched his eponymous radio show from Los Angeles in 1990, and it is today syndicated to hundreds of stations and outlets across the country every Monday through Friday morning. Hewitt has frequently appeared on every major national news television network, hosted television shows for PBS and MSNBC, written for every major American paper, has authored a dozen books and moderated a score of Republican candidate debates, most recently the November 2023 Republican presidential debate in Miami and four Republican presidential debates in the 2015-16 cycle. Hewitt focuses his radio show and this column on the Constitution, national security, American politics and the Cleveland Browns and Guardians. Hewitt has interviewed tens of thousands of guests from Democrats Hillary Clinton and John Kerry to Republican Presidents George W. Bush and Donald Trump over his forty years in broadcast, and this column previews the lead story that will drive his radio show today.