by Gallagher & Schleicher

John Bolton’s departure from the White House as national security adviser leaves yet another significant vacancy in the president’s senior team, just in time for the all-important run-up to the 2020 elections. Not to mention the press of potential nuclear wars (North Korea, Iran), collapsing economies in the Americas (Venezuela) and disbanding allies (BoJo’s Brexit bust).

From a foreign affairs perspective, this may raise some alarms. Aggressive, hawkish and widely unpopular with allies and adversaries alike, Bolton nonetheless was seen as a wee bit of a stabilizing force, compared to an otherwise increasingly erratic — and frankly, never stable — White House. It’s hard to see who, if anyone, remains willing to stand up to the boss. There just aren’t enough professional stapler throwers like John Bolton to be had these days (Google it).

But from a ratings perspective (and what else really matters in this third, possibly penultimate season of the presidential reality-TV series?), this is pure gold. Most producers can only dream of such a casting opportunity to introduce a new major character just as the plot thickens with new charges of malfeasance and incompetence, all under the dark looming clouds of impeachment, renewed missile launches and now the required extraction of a handy CIA spy otherwise snug in the Kremlin.

Politicians, diplomats and donors will no doubt argue for doves or militants, isolationists or interventionists, depending on their ideologies. Problem is, it’s not clear anyone of any persuasion with even minimum credentials will step forward for what is certain to be another episode of hara-kiri career changes.

Which is fine; this job — this role — is not really about national security. It’s about drama, fodder for tweets and, most importantly, propping up the president as the election heats up. Keep in mind that Trump loves to recruit from Central Casting — more important a square jaw than an honest heart or quick mind, after all.

After ruling out a few less interesting choices, we propose the following for the president’s solicitous consideration.

First, Chrissy Teigen. She’s proven capable of standing up to bullies, has a clever wit, can make effective use of profanity, writes well and has been a model. In other words, a yin to Trump’s yang. Trump claimed some fondness for Bolton encouraging him to embrace new ways of thinking. Chrissy did just that when she tweeted that Trump was a PAB (please don’t Google it).

Next candidate? Wilford Brimley, for obvious reasons. Many may not even notice the change, as he has played many similar roles in the past, especially those requiring a brusque demeanor, and he’s available. On the other hand, we’re looking for someone to bend the story arc upward rather than ride it down on its current tearful trajectory.

Next in line would be Michael Bolton, the singer. He’d need a better moustache, and his 1993 hit “Said I Loved You But I Lied” seems eerily prescient for the current environment. We’d save dozens of dollars on name placards at summits and conferences. But not enough of a game-changer for our tastes.

We next would suggest Vladimir Putin, under the adage of giving jobs to those who’ve shown they’ve already done them. After all, he’d really just be reading from the script he wrote. But he’s too busy running his own autocracy, and — red flag on his resume — he apparently failed to keep the Kremlin secure from foreign spies!

A presidential pardon could open the (prison) door for some oldies but goodies, like ex-campaign manager Paul Manafort and former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. Traitors? Sure, but consider that they’d work for free (at least as far as the U.S. Treasury is concerned). Moscow Mitch is another one who could come pre-approved by the Kremlin, but court-packing from his terrapin Senate perch is too essential a GOP mission to reassign him.

Thinking outside the box…

Ghislaine Maxwell, longtime significant other to Jeffrey Epstein, has some time on her hands now that Jeff’s busy rotting in Hell. She’s shown an ability to pimp out the vulnerable in a way that would serve her well in an administration much more interested in generating revenue from Scottish airports than saving children stranded in the Bahamas. Trump could pardon her in advance to avoid the risk he’d be impeached by the time she really needed it.

We’re also giving Predator, from “Predator,” a serious look. Hard to ignore that kind of negotiating power, and it’s well-known from Pyongyang to Kabul. Plus there’s huge upside with the merch, not to mention a stern presence for keeping the press pool in line.

As the holidays approach, we’d be remiss to leave out your uncle. Setting aside a lack of foreign policy experience, he does have that skill that Trump values most in an appointee: praising the president early and often. You’d have no need to commit to avoid discussing politics at Thanksgiving dinner if he’s busily occupied negotiating with foreign dictators. Plus, he’d probably bring you back fantastic souvenirs, given his life-long thoughtfulness about his nieces and nephews.

And the winner is …

We’d close with that, but wait…we’ve just been handed an envelope. And the winner is…Francis Gilbert. That’s right, the chemist at the Sanford Ink Company who in 1964 invented the Sharpie.® There’s no international crisis that a good map and a black Sharpie can’t fix with a border adjusted here and there.


This piece originally appeared in the Sunday, September 15, 2019 Waco Tribune-Herald, where the Davids are on the Board of Contributors.

David Gallagher is a transplanted Texan, living and working in London and tweeting @TBoneGallagher. David Schleicher is an attorney splitting his time between Waco and D.C. who blogs at

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