Everyone knows voters love to be told how to think about candidates. But how should we think about campaign staff? Voters are familiar with the key policy advisors in the Trump Campaign, his children, but what about those forgotten, obscure positions like campaign manager? Who are these folks behind the scenes, strategically pulling the strings behind the Trump operation, carefully staging his every move and crafting strategic messaging like this:
The average voter doesn’t have time to spend researching who works for the Trump campaign, piling through every press clipping to see what they’ve published in the past.
With all the firings and high profile hirings, the Trump staff can seem at times like a blockbuster Hollywood movie. So instead of having to spend hours of research figuring out the apparatus behind the Trump Operation, here is a handy guide to understanding just who Trump’s key advisors are in terms of famous television and movie characters.
Roger Ailes/Jabba the Hutt
Although the physical similarities are the most obvious, the comparison runs much further than just skin deep. Ailes, most well known for his stint controlling the Fox News media empire, does not have the best track record in the world when it comes to sexual consent. Sound like a certain Tatooine crime boss?
Jabba the Hutt was of course a criminal overlord who oversaw an army of bounty hunters and assassins. Ailes on the other hand was a prominent media executive who had no reason to operate outside of the law.
Steve Bannon/Tommy DeVito
Bannon is the former head of Breitbart News who was brought on to be the Campaign CEO, a totally separate position from campaign manager. When Trump pivoted to the general election Bannon was brought on board to soften his image and make the candidate more appealing to undecided voters. Similar to the way in which Pesci’s character was the level-headed confidante to Liotta’s Henry Hill in Goodfellas.
NY Times – The website he runs, Breitbart News, recently accused President Obama of “importing more hating Muslims”; compared Planned Parenthood’s work to the Holocaust; called Bill Kristol, the conservative commentator, a “renegade Jew”; and advised female victims of online harassment to “just log off” and stop “screwing up the internet for men,” illustrating that point with a picture of a crying child.
Kudos to Bannon for acknowledging the Holocaust.
In addition to his genius political messaging, he also brings a spirit of openness and collaboration to the organization.
Politico – “Steve Bannon operated as the dictator of Breitbart,” Bardella added. “He is someone who is prone to a lot of tirades and acts as a bully.
Kellyanne Conway/Sweet Dee
A woman in a male-dominated workplace, Kellyanne Conway is ostensibly the manager of the Trump Campaign. Like Dee, Conway is something akin to the voice of reason amongst their respective gangs of lovable misfits. Most campaign managers are in charge of directing the campaign and strategically crafting its message but Conway usually finds herself cleaning up the mess that the rest of the gang has created. Live look at Kellyanne after Trump refuses to say Obama was born in the United States:
Conway is also notable as one of the few members of Trump’s staff who comes with some relatively mainstream political experience. She is a pollster by trade and worked for Ted Cruz’s campaign before it was derailed by his very publicly unpopular disdain for good ol’ fashioned American sex toys. Considering her previous affiliation with the type of mainstream Republicans that Trump despises, it’s unclear exactly what she sees in the Donald.
Stephen Miller/Hannibal Lecter
Miller is perhaps the least well-known of the four, a policy advisor for Trump who was a former Jeff Sessions staffer but thought Sessions was too soft on immigration. Similar to the way that Lecter was an object of fascination for the FBI, Miller is well-known in Capitol Hill circles even if the general public may be unfamiliar with him.
Politico – There is something eerily vintage about Miller’s stump speeches. The combination of their substance—vilifying immigrants as killers, the promise of nativist glory days ahead—and their delivery with a calm face around a loud, droning mouth, slicked-back hair and sharp suit, floridly invoking powerful cabals against the people: All of it harks back to an earlier time. It’s as if the video should be in black and white, and the microphone in front of Miller an antique, metallic affair. This is an image Miller assiduously cultivates, smoking like a chimney and dressing in suits that earned him the nickname “Mad Men” on the Hill.
Tell me this guy’s not a young Jon Hamm:
Miller has been deeply involved in the political word for the entirety of his adult life and possesses as deep of an understanding policy as is possible for someone on the Trump staff to have. Much like Lecter knows just which mispronounced wine goes with which internal organ, Miller is keenly aware of which racial undertones to use depending on who his audience is.