Donald Trump is political cancer these days, but he's also resume cancer, and his close aides and confidants are now unemployed and remain unemployable.
“There’s a lot of resumé passing and people just wanting to help people land on their feet,” said a former Trump White House official.
It’s not been easy. Tainted by Trump’s reputation, several Trump aides described an increasingly bleak job market with virtually no chance of landing jobs in corporate America and some even having seen promising leads disappear after the rampage at the U.S. Capitol. A second former White House official said they knew of “people who got jobs rescinded because of Jan. 6.” A Republican strategist was blunter.
“They are really f---ed,” the strategist said, pointing to some top officials who stuck with Trump until the bitter end. “The Hill scramble, one of the few places where they’d be welcomed, already happened a month or so ago… They were told over and over to take their hand off the hot stove, and they didn’t want to listen.”
It’s not just the lower- and mid-level staffers getting pinched. Two people familiar with his thinking said Trump’s former chief of staff Mark Meadows, who spent seven years in the House of Representatives before joining the White House, was even considering a position at the Trump Organization because of a lack of options.
Faced with these employment hurdles, staffers have circulated an informal directory of plausible job openings among each other. Other Trump officials decided to start their own businesses or transitioned back to Republican offices on Capitol Hill or hired their former colleagues. Former White House director of strategic communications Alyssa Farah, for example, recently tapped a former aide to Vice President Mike Pence to join her new consulting operation, according to a person familiar with the move.
It’s a far different reality from where Trump and his aides had envisioned they would be. A month ago, everything seemed crystal clear: He had lost the 2020 election but would soon launch a juggernaut campaign for the presidency in 2024, and his allies and inner circle would be there to help. Now, the former president’s team is scampering away — willing to leave Washington, in some cases for red states like Texas and Florida, to increase their job prospects — while his own second act is clouded by uncertainty.
One former senior administration official noted that many inside the White House were waiting until after the Electoral College votes were counted to begin their job search in earnest, so as not to step on messaging about Trump’s efforts to challenge the election results. But then, the riots on Capitol Hill upended their plans.
“They looked to that [Jan. 6] as the end of the limbo state people were operating in so they could start moving on to the next thing” the former official said. “But the 6th put a shock to that.”
Crying shame that sticking with your seditionist coup-coup bird of a boss has wrecked your job prospects, huh.
Maybe that $600 will help, yeah?
Meanwhile, some former Trumpists are moving ahead with their own plans to join the only job market that's really left to them: GOP politician.
Sarah Sanders, Donald Trump’s former chief spokeswoman and one of his closest aides, announced Monday she’s running for Arkansas governor, vying for political office even as the former president’s legacy is clouded by an impeachment charge that he incited the deadly siege at the U.S. Capitol.
The former White House press secretary, who left the job in 2019 to return to her home state, launched the bid less than a week after the end of Trump’s time in office and as the ex-president faces an impeachment trial.
But her announcement reflected how much she expected voters in solidly red Arkansas to embrace the former president, if not his rhetoric.
“With the radical left now in control of Washington, your governor is your last line of defense,” Sanders said in a video announcing her bid. “In fact, your governor must be on the front line. So today I announce my candidacy for governor of Arkansas.”
The daughter of former Gov. Mike Huckabee, Sanders had been widely expected to run for the office after leaving the White House — and Trump publicly encouraged her to make a go. She’s been laying the groundwork for a candidacy, speaking to GOP groups around the state.
Sanders joins a Republican primary that already includes two statewide elected leaders, Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin and Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. The three are running to succeed current Gov. Asa Hutchinson, a Republican who is unable to run next year due to term limits. No Democrats have announced a bid to run for the seat.
She's in the perfect spot to win, still a hardcore Trumpist but far enough away from the failed coup and COVID disaster that she won't be blamed for either when running.
Keep an eye on her. She's going to be dangerous in the years ahead.