Fox News contributor John Bolton will be President Trump's next national security adviser, replacing Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster and becoming the latest commentator to vault from the president's TV screen to the Trump administration.
Bolton, a former ambassador to the United Nations, will not be new to government, but he fits an emerging pattern. When officials leave their posts — a near-daily occurrence of late — Trump tends to look for replacements on television.
Last week, he plucked Larry Kudlow from CNBC to succeed Gary Cohn as director of the National Economic Council.
“Fox & Friends Weekend” host Pete Hegseth is a leading contender to replace David Shulkin at the helm of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
While some people order ShamWows off QVC, Trump shops for advisers on Fox News.
Trump's love of TV is well documented. It was, after all, a TV show, “The Apprentice,” that helped make him an even bigger household name. He tweets often about cable news segments and ratings, reportedly watches four or more hours of TV on a typical day and has even been known to offer shooting and lighting directions when appearing on camera.
But there is a difference between being interested in the medium and being influenced by it, and the president is clearly the latter. He pledged to “hire the best people” and, in many cases, seems to think the best people can be found on his TV screen. Where other viewers might see talking heads bloviating about various policies, Trump sees people who should be making the policies in real life — or, at least, pushing his in a telegenic way.
Some of Trump's original administration cast came from television. K.T. McFarland, the former deputy national security adviser, was a Fox News commentator. Heather Nauert, who delivered headline news on “Fox & Friends,” became the top spokeswoman at the State Department.
The president's inclination to hire TV figures has only intensified amid turnover in his administration. Nauert is no longer a press aide but has been elevated to acting undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs, making her one of the nation's highest-ranking diplomats.
In the market for a new White House communications director last summer, Trump brought in Anthony Scaramucci, who had hosted a Fox Business program and was one of the president's top TV defenders.
Scaramucci, in his brief tenure, promoted Sarah Huckabee Sanders to White House press secretary; before then, however, Trump eyed Kimberly Guilfoyle and Laura Ingraham of Fox News as possible replacements for Sean Spicer.
The president indicated last week that more personnel changes could be coming, when he said, “I'm really at a point where we're getting very close to having the Cabinet and other things that I want.”
Anyone who wants to be considered for future openings might do well to get a job on TV first.
This post, originally published on March 16, has been updated.