Donald Trump is treating his transition like a Miss Universe pageant

President-elect Donald Trump at Trump International Golf Club, November 20, 2016 in Bedminster Township, New Jersey .
Image: Drew Angerer/ Getty Images

Donald Trump continues to run his presidential transition like a Miss Universe contest: lots of smiles and pageantry for the camera, but ultimately, a shallow exercising in showmanship. And one that changes little, if anything at all. It’s just Trump’s doing what Trump does best: kicking up a cyclone of advertising and tantalizing potentials that distract his audience from the administration he’s house.

And he knows just how to spin out a sideshow or two to keep the masses occupied, instead of allowing the audience’s gaze to persist too long on the more nefarious aspects of the first steps of his administration.

Conjurer of spectacle

Over the past few days, the president-elect has attained the front porch of his Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey his stage, parading apparent nominee after nominee for his cabinet in front of the media, all while saying remarkably little of substance.

The giant wooden doorway at the front of the clubhouse might as well has become a revolving door, based on the number of candidates who’ve come and gone in recent days, all with very, very little progress being made in the building of the cabinet.

But Trump has managed to make that door the source of so much attention and speculation, media and spectators alike wondering whoWHO ?!? “wouldve been” next to stroll through it. It’s the same drama he created by holing up in Trump Tower in the days after the election, generating such ardor that C-SPAN shared a live camera feed of the building’s lobby.

While refusing to let anyone get a peek behind the curtain, Trump induced sure that “members attention” was always focused on him.

‘Sound and ferocity, signifying nothing’

As for the cabinet nominees, Trump has turned them into contestants, objects of speculation and judgement who are forced to make a brief photo-op with the president-elect by their side while the cameras snap away and reporters jot down notes: “Could this be the pick for Secretary of State? What about the Defense Department? “

Like pageant contestants in the talent competition, media run down the qualifications of every person that walks through that door. A former mayor, a brand new congressman, a retired general: what tricks can each of them pulling of to convince the president-elect they’re worthy of a spot in the White House?

Both friends and foe have visited Trump. Rudy Giuliani, one of Trump’s most aggressive and outspoken surrogates on the campaign trail, was spotted there, posing for photos on the porch.

Rudy Giuliani( left) and Donald Trump( right)

Image: Peter Foley/ picture-alliance/ dpa/ AP Images

And much was made about site visits paid by Mitt Romney, an adversary of Trump’s during the election cycle but now a astonish nominee for Secretary of State, according to reports.

Even Chris Christie, long rumored to be on the outs with Trump’s inner circle, made a visit. The wide range of invitees, including Trump’s former Hollywood agent Ari Emanuel and Democratic congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, has maintained people guessing. It’s also been read as a sign Trump is willing to mend fences and create a coalition cabinet.

And, yet, for all the talk of cooperation with those he’s combated with in the past, the cabinet postures that have been announced have all gone to staunch Trump advocates from his campaign, including Steve Bannon, Jeff Sessions, Gen. Mike Flynn, and Reince Priebus.

Read another way: white nationalist old white guy, Confederate flag-loving old white guy, conspiracy theorist old white guy, and establishment old white guy.

In other terms, the Trump status quo.

Glitz, glamour, goading

Like a pageant contestant who truly hopes they can nail that flute solo in the talent competition to make up for their Q& A flub, Trump is relying on noise and misdirection to keep us confused from the process and what it brings.

If it weren’t for the troubling backgrounds of the appointees he’s already announced, his ability to dress up the process as a public extravaganza that he’s still managed to shroud in secrecy would be impressive.

While candidates jockey for position, strolling across the stage for the magistrates, beaming smiles and brandish, Trump is inducing a public demonstrate of what has, traditionally, been a more private process. The president-elect doesn’t owe anyone transparency in attaining his picks but by garmenting the process up in glitter, he’s attracting the attention he wants without having to expose more than he wants.

And while Trump hasn’t actually been any later than previous chairpeople to start naming cabinet postures, his refusal to speak publicly is a departure from the norm. We’re two weeks collected from Trump’s upset victory over Hillary Clinton in the presidential election and yet the president-elect has yet to hold a public press conference on the transition as past president-elects have.

But there hasn’t been much on that because he’s done such a good job spinning off other disputes. Whether it’s continuing his attack on the media, complaining about Saturday Night Live , or starting a feud with a Broadway musical, Trump has fabricated a song-and-dance routine that keeps the attention on him.

He’s the pageant host, whisking the contestants off stage and maintaining us from focusing too hard on the actual process, glistening all that glisten in our eyes until, when the lightings finally come off, we finally realize it was all spectacle and no substance.

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