If you want to be in Donald Trump’s cabinet, you have to look the part.
“Presentation is very important because you’re representing America not only on the national stage but also the international stage, depending on the position,” Jason Miller, a Trump transition spokesman, first told the Washington Post.
The President-elect is a “master brander,” including but not limited to his background in reality television—so it was “probably inevitable that he would be looking beyond their résumés for a certain aesthetic,” the Post reports.
For instance, Trump reportedly turned down former United Nations ambassador John R. Bolton for secretary of state because of his mustache, according to the Post.
“Donald was not going to like that mustache,” one associate, who requested anonymity, told the Post. “I can’t think of anyone that’s really close to Donald that has a beard that he likes.”
Chris Ruddy, chief executive of Newsmax Media and a longtime friend of Trump, might agree.
“He likes people who present themselves very well, and he’s very impressed when somebody has a background of being good on television because he thinks it’s a very important medium for public policy,” Chris Ruddy, chief executive of Newsmax Media and a longtime friend of Trump, told the Post.
However, critics say Trump’s seemingly skin-deep standards are worrisome in the Oval Office.
Already, his personnel choices show signs of being “cast for the TV show of his administration,” Bob Killian, founder of a branding agency based in Chicago, first told the Post. “They are all perfectly coifed people who look like they belong on a set.”
However, Trump spokesman Miller insisted that some qualifications go beyond aesthetic: “People who are being selected for these key positions need to be able to hold their own, need to be doers and not wallflowers, and need to convey a clear sense of purpose and commitment,” he said.