But according to the Kasich adviser (who spoke only under the condition that he not be named), Donald Jr. wanted to make him an offer nonetheless: Did he have any interest in being the most powerful vice president in history?When Kasich’s adviser asked how this would be the case, Donald Jr. explained that his father’s vice president would be in charge of domestic and foreign policy.Then what, the adviser asked, would Trump be in charge of?“Making America great again” was the casual reply.
It's easy to roll your eyes at the sloganeering and the sense inherent in these comments that Trump and the people in his inner circle just don't think being president is all that hard.
But to do that misses a critical point regarding the way Trump and his family envision his presidency working. Judging from Don Jr.'s sales pitch to Ohio Gov. John Kasich, it's remarkably similar to how Trump's company works.
Donald Trump is the face of everything his massive operation does. He is the front-facing public figure. When they open a new building or launch a new wine or cut a new real-estate deal, not only is Trump always front and center, but also his name is prominently featured on whatever the new thing is.
Trump is, effectively, a brand ambassador for himself and his company. He projects the ideas of excellence and opulence in connection to the Trump brand. He is not, at this stage of his life, getting deep down into the nitty-gritty of each deal. He has people — oftentimes family members — who do that. Trump's job is to be, well, Trump.
That is, quite clearly, how Trump sees the role of president — as a sort of brand ambassador for the United States. He is the guy who will make people believe America can be, um, great again — at home and abroad. He will be the strong public face that Barack Obama isn't — and doesn't know how to be. As for the day-to-day operations of the White House, he would delegate most of them, as the Kasich source makes plain to Draper.
That division of labor shouldn't surprise anyone who has closely followed the campaign Trump has run. He has repeatedly expressed little interest or curiosity in the nuances and intricacies of policy, and he's made clear he thinks most average Americans don't care either.
Trump views the job of being president as akin to being a movie star. He is the big name in bright lights. Other people handle the details of his life and, occasionally, he pops in to make a big decision. But most of the time, he focuses on being as much himself in as many public settings as possible.
That's a fascinating conception of what a president can and should do in the 21st century.