During the presidential campaign, a cross-section of media figures argued that if Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton were to win the election, she should include Republican appointees in her cabinet and other top positions in order to help unify the country. Will the media now push President-elect Donald Trump -- who said during the campaign that he wouldn’t consider offering any top positions to Democrats -- to meet that same standard?
Media Figures Argued That If Clinton Were Elected, She Should Appoint Republicans To Top Positions
Wash. Post’s Jennifer Rubin: If Clinton Is Elected, She Should Appoint “Republicans And Independents To Prominent … Cabinet And White House Jobs.” Conservative Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin wrote in October that a President Clinton “would be wise to style hers as a national unity government” and appoint “Republicans and independents to prominent -- not token -- Cabinet and White House jobs”:
In other words, she is still making a concerted effort to reach out to Republicans rather than tie the entire GOP to Trump. That might be seen as a selfish attempt to run up the score, maybe swing red states her way. But she also sounds like someone very much aware that she’s going to have to pick up the pieces and govern for the next four years. Barring a filibuster-proof Senate, she is going to need some cooperation from Republicans.
She would be wise to continue that beyond Election Day. That means a unifying inaugural speech. It means appointment of Republicans and independents to prominent -- not token -- Cabinet and White House jobs. She would be wise to style hers as a national unity government and begin outreach and agenda-planning with congressional leaders sooner rather than later. With much of the “vast right-wing conspiracy” vanquished and humiliated, she may have the opportunity to forge some meaningful alliances. [The Washington Post, 10/13/16]
Fox’s Karl Rove: If Clinton Wins, “She's Going To Need ... Somebody Who's A Republican Or A Republican Identifier To Serve In Her Cabinet.” Fox contributor Karl Rove, the former deputy chief of staff to George W. Bush, argued that if she were elected, Clinton would need “somebody who's a Republican or a Republican identifier to serve in her cabinet.” Rove also acknowledged that “if Donald Trump wins, he's going to need a Norm Mineta, a Democrat who will serve in his cabinet.” From the November 6 edition of Fox News Sunday:
KARL ROVE: Dick Gephardt, who was a good man, went on Tim Russert's “Meet The Press” and twice, after the Supreme Court came down on the 18th of September, twice was asked, is Bush the legitimate president of the United States, and he refused to answer the question. And yet, by June, by setting the right tone and by reaching out to the other side, Bush had passed his tax cuts in the Senate with a quarter of the Democrats in the Senate voting for it, by spending the time and the energy and the effort to specifically unite the country. Whoever this -- if Donald Trump wins, he's going to need a Norm Mineta, a Democrat who will serve in his cabinet. If she wins, she's going to need a Bob Gates, somebody who's a Republican or a Republican identifier to serve in her cabinet. [Fox Broadcasting Co., Fox News Sunday, 11/6/16, via Nexis]
Historian Doris Kearns Goodwin: If Clinton Wins, “It Would Be Good To Have Some Republicans Close By.” Doris Kearns Goodwin, a presidential historian and a frequent guest on MSNBC and CNN, said on CNN Newsroom,“I think if Hillary would have to win, it would be good to have some business people in her Cabinet. It would be good to have some Republicans close by.” She added, “Just as if Trump were to win, he definitely would need to have people who have had experience in government,” but she did not argue that those people should include Democrats. From the October 29 edition of CNN Newsroom:
DORIS KEARNS GOODWIN: Well, you know what, hope so. I mean, I think it's harder nowadays because the parties are so polarized that if you join the opposition party, you might be considered a traitor in your own party.
But think both parties need to look openly at that. We've had opposition members from secretaries of Defense sometimes, and we had Hillary there, obviously, which was a great thing for both Obama and Hillary I think as it turned out, but I think we need more of it. I think if Hillary would have to win, it would be good to have some business people in her Cabinet. It would be good to have some Republicans close by.
Just as if Trump were to win, he definitely would need to have people who have had experience in government, as well as the people that he knows, so yes, I hope the country is willing to say, we want this from you, and let each party not demonize the other one for allowing somebody to come in. When Jon Huntsman joined Obama's -- not his campaign, but became the ambassador to China, then when he ran it was hard for him to run because of that. That's crazy. It should be a good thing to have done that. [CNN, CNN Newsroom, 10/29/16, via Nexis]
LA Times’ Doyle McManus: Clinton “Could Name A Republican Or Two To Her Cabinet And Quickly Launch Bipartisan Conversations To Search For Common Ground.” Los Angeles Times columnist Doyle McManus argued that if Clinton won, she could “proclaim her desire to be a president for members of both parties” and “name a Republican or two to her Cabinet” to “quickly launch bipartisan conversations to search for common ground”:
“If there's a backlash against the awful nature of the campaign, there could be real public pressure to let her get a few things done,” Norman J. Ornstein, a scholar of Congress at the American Enterprise Institute, told me. “She could pass an infrastructure program; that's got support in both parties. She could pass some technical fixes for Obamacare.”
But that's about all -- and that's “a rosy scenario,” he added.
In a darker scenario, “Republicans will decide that they want to replay what they did in 2010 and 2014 -- delegitimize the president and block whatever they can,” Ornstein said.
Clinton can help nudge the new Congress toward the first scenario if she continues to proclaim her desire to be a president for members of both parties, a theme she's taken up over the last few weeks of the campaign. Even more important, she could name a Republican or two to her Cabinet and quickly launch bipartisan conversations to search for common ground. [Los Angeles Times, 10/12/16]
Trump Previously Said He Would Not Appoint Any Democrats To Top Posts
CNN: Trump Said “He Wouldn’t Consider Putting Any Democrats In His Cabinet” In “A Departure From Recent Presidents.” CNN’s Jeremy Diamond reported on October 25 that Trump “told Reuters he would not consider putting any Democrats in his cabinet,” which is “a departure from recent presidents, who have sought to post at least one member of their rival party in a top administration post”:
And just two days after he tied the successful enactment of his agenda as president to the election of Republican majorities in Congress, Trump also returned to his more typical complaints of a lack of Republican unity weighing down his candidacy.
“If we had party unity, we couldn't lose this election to Hillary Clinton,” he told Reuters.
That complaint didn't put Trump in more of a bipartisan mood, though, as the Republican nominee also told Reuters he would not consider putting any Democrats in his cabinet -- a departure from recent presidents, who have sought to post at least one member of their rival party in a top administration post. [CNN.com, 10/25/16]