A stand-in for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is seen in a television camera monitor as preparations continue on Sept. 25, 2106 for the presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y.
Photo by J. David Ake/AP

Members of Trump’s team, as seen on TV

During a presidential campaign, one might expect top aides to a candidate to advise him or her by simply communicating with the candidate directly. Donald Trump’s staff, however, came to realize such an approach had limits – and to help drive home recommendations, aides to the presidential hopeful had to recognize the fact that Trump watched a lot of television.

“A way you can communicate with him is you go on TV to communicate,” campaign manager Kellyanne Conway said.

Keep this in mind when considering the latest addition to Team Trump.
President-elect Donald Trump’s transition team announced Thursday that Fox News commentator Monica Crowley would join his administration’s National Security Council.

Crowley, who will be the NSC’s senior director of strategic communications, had been a Fox News contributor since 2008 and was an analyst for the network from 1998 to 2004, according to a bio on the network’s website.
For those who take such matters seriously, Crowley is an alarming choice. Media Matters’ Zachary Pleat published a report yesterday on the far-right pundit’s media background, and noted that Crowley “repeatedly pushed false claims about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and Iran, smeared Syrian refugees fleeing war as terrorists, routinely attacks journalists as ‘corrupt’ and ‘leftist,’ and has pushed numerous conspiracy theories.”

There had to be someone else in Republican policy circles better suited for this post.

But more broadly, have you noticed just how many members of Trump’s team are people the president-elect apparently saw on TV?

Crowley will at least have plenty of company. Rachel had a good segment on this a couple of weeks ago, highlighting the pattern: Elaine Chao, for example, Trump’s choice for Transportation Secretary, is a former Fox News contributor. So is K.T. McFarland, the incoming deputy national security adviser. Ben Carson, Trump’s choice for HUD Secretary, is a former Fox News contributor.

In fact, a wide variety of other cable-news contributors have either been considered, or are still under consideration, for top posts in a Trump administration. The Washington Post recently joked, “The Trump revolution won’t just be televised. It will be led by television talking heads.”

During the Republican presidential primaries, NBC News’ Chuck Todd asked Trump whom he turns to for guidance on matters of national security. “Well,” the Republican replied, “I watch the shows.”

Evidently, Trump wasn’t kidding.