Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters.
Fox News is emerging as a key venue for selecting the next White House chief of staff, with potential candidates like Fox contributor and former Trump aide David Bossie and their supporters pitching directly to President Donald Trump through the network’s programming, which he frequently watches.
Bossie appeared on Tuesday’s edition of Fox & Friends to discuss reports that he is in the running for the position, talking up his chemistry with the president and drawing an endorsement from co-host Brian Kilmeade.
Bossie is a right-wing operative with a history of employing dirty tricks and smears against Democrats. His “filthy” tactics drew condemnations from the late President George H.W. Bush and then-House Speaker Newt Gingrich and led to his forced resignation as top investigator for the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee after he was caught doctoring transcripts. After spending years running the right-wing political advocacy group Citizens United, Bossie worked as Trump’s deputy campaign manager in 2016.
He joined Fox News as a contributor in February 2017, using that platform to offer boilerplate defenses of Trump that were indistinguishable from official White House statements. This past summer, Fox apologized and reportedly suspended Bossie for two weeks after he made a racist comment on air.
Trump has been floundering since he announced on Saturday that chief of staff John Kelly would be leaving the White House at the end of the month, only to have his presumed replacement, Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff Nick Ayers, turn down the role. Several other reported candidates have also said they are not interested, helping to put Bossie on the shortlist.
Bossie’s Fox tenure makes him a natural fit for the position given the network’s entwinement with the Trump administration, which is stocked with Fox alums; just last week, Trump selected former Fox & Friendsnewsreader Heather Nauert to be the next U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.
His Fox colleagues are also giving his bid a boost. Kilmeade described Bossie on Monday as “perfect” for the job, saying that “he understands politics, understands the president, he understands investigations, because he was on the offensive side against Hillary Clinton with great success.”
On Tuesday, Kilmeade teased an interview with Bossie by saying he “would be my choice” for chief of staff. Later in the program, Bossie made his own case for taking on the role, emphasizing that he is “totally committed to the future of what this next two years of his presidency is about.”
These Fox & Friends interactions are especially significant because Trump himself regularly watches the program and at times seems to take advice from commentators who appear on the show. On Tuesday, he praised former White House aide Michael Anton for a Fox & Friends appearance in the same episode featuring Bossie’s job interview.
Kilmeade is not the only Fox personality promoting Bossie’s candidacy. Also on Tuesday, Fox contributor Byron York tweeted that Bossie “might be [the] clear choice” for the role, citing his work investigating the Clinton White House in the 1990s.
Meanwhile, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) pitched Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) for the position during a Monday appearance on Fox, later telling Politico, “I lobbied the president the best way I know how. I made the Meadows case on Fox News.”
Header image by Melissa Joskow / Media Matters