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Inside Trumpworld, the Cabinet Casting Begins

donald trump kellyanne conway
On the campaign and inside the White House, Conway would serve multiple purposes—including keeping Jared Kushner at a distance. Photo: Jessica Rinaldi/The Boston Globe via Getty Images
Tara Palmeri
March 14, 2024

It’s strange to recall, as Donald Trump charges toward the general election with even odds of retaking the White House, just how friendless he was in the bleak midwinter of 2021, post-January 6, when it was just Susie Wiles and Jason Miller by his side. Wiles had been cast into the wilderness by Ron DeSantis, and Miller was juggling freelancing for Trump and promoting his now-defunct social media app, Gettr. Even 18 months later, after the addition of name-brand operative Chris LaCivita, it was a depressing scene at Mar-a-Lago when Trump soft-launched his third campaign to an inert response. Republicans were blaming him for the party’s brutal midterm results. DeSantis was on the rise. Even Hannity cut away from the speech. 

Now, of course, all that has been forgotten. DeSantis, along with a dozen other primary challengers, has bowed out; G.O.P. megadonors have been brought to heel; and all manner of party operatives, frenemies, power brokers, and businessmen are lining up to kiss the ring, write checks, and put their names up for consideration as political appointees or cabinet members in a potential second Trump administration.