News reports indicate that North Carolina Congressman Mark Meadows is in the running to be Donald Trump’s next chief of staff. Raleigh’s News & Observer reports, Meadows is interested in the job.
As veteran DC-watcher Ian Millhiser of Think Progress observed yesterday, however, there are some good reasons for everyone to be concerned if Meadows — a fire-beathing right-winger — is the pick. This is from “If Mark Meadows joins Trump as his new chief of staff, watch out”:
The danger of Meadows ending up as the White House Chief of Staff stems mainly from the fact that Donald Trump is neither especially bright nor especially interested in his job. Trump spends hours on something the White House defines as “executive time,” a euphemistic term for “the unstructured time Trump spends tweeting, phoning friends and watching television.” The best way to convince Trump to do something is to be the last person to talk to him before he has to make a decision.
Meanwhile, the chief of staff’s job is to be the gatekeeper to the president. An effective chief of staff could determine who Trump speaks with last on an entire range of issues.
Even without one of the architects of the 2013 shutdown at his side, Trump constantly threatens government shutdowns. As an arresting Washington Post headline noted last September, “Trump has threatened to shut down the government at least seven times in the past six weeks.” In the past, someone has talked him out of it. With Meadows as his top aide, an extended shutdown becomes much more likely….
The price of government shutdowns is high. According to S&P Global’s economists, “a shutdown would trim at least 0.2% points, or $6.5 billion, from real GDP growth for each week a shutdown lasts.” The same economic team estimates that the brief 2013 shutdown — which lasted from October 1 until October 17 of that year, “cost the US economy $24bn” and shaved “0.6% off of economic growth” in the quarter it took place.
A Chief of Staff Meadows is a recipe for an extended shutdown. And that, in turn, is a recipe for a recession in an election year. If Donald Trump wants to run for reelection in the midst of a recession that he single-handedly created, he runs the risk of leaving the White House forever in 2021.