Donald Trump is considering naming his cabinet at the Republican convention. The problem is that it is illegal for Trump to name cabinet members for an election that he hasn’t won yet.
Indeed, Trump is viewing the convention as a showcase for the brand he built in entertainment over three decades and then melded with a political persona developed over the last year. It’s an opportunity to fill a vacuum created by longtime Republican standard-bearers, from Mitt Romney and John McCain to the Bush family who are opting not to attend, and to elevate a new coalition of conservatives and present a party refashioned, at least for the moment, in his own image.
And Trump plans to create news events too, not just line up speeches by up-and-coming members of the GOP. He’s toying with unveiling a running mate at the convention rather than before. He’s even considering whether to announce his would-be Cabinet.
There is one small hangup. It would be illegal for Donald Trump to name his cabinet at the Republican convention, “Pursuant to 18 U.S.C. § 599, “[w]hoever, being a candidate, directly or indirectly promises or pledges the appointment, or the use of his influence or support for the appointment of any person to any public or private position or employment, for the purpose of procuring support in his candidacy shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both; and if the violation was willful, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than two years, or both.”
This isn’t the first time that Trump has flirted with graft and corruption during his campaign. Trump is facing a call for a criminal investigation into an illegal job offer that he to Ben Carson to get his endorsement.
If Trump named people to his cabinet ahead of the election, he could be facing a year in prison for each person that he announced.
The Trump team is so ignorant of the law that they are floating an idea that could put the Republican nominee behind bars. The Republican convention could be fun television for Democrats if Trump follows through with half of his potentially illegal schemes.
Donald Trump wants to turn the Republican convention into good television, but judging from his approval ratings, the best television of all might be if Trump is led out of Cleveland in handcuffs.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association