Reince Priebus had the shortest term of any White House chief of staff.
Reince Priebus is reportedly considering a 2022 run for governor of Wisconsin, just four years after his brief and problematic tenure as Donald Trump's first White House chief of staff.
Politico reported on Friday that the former chair of the Wisconsin and national Republican parties is possibly preparing a campaign for his party's nomination to face incumbent Democratic Gov. Tony Evers.
After agreeing to serve in the administration, Priebus defended the anti-Muslim bigotry of Michael Flynn, Trump's pick for national security adviser, saying he believed Trump aligned with Flynn's views: "Phrasing can always be done differently, but clearly, there are some aspects of that faith that are problematic, and we've known them. We've seen it."
He also defended Trump's selection of Steve Bannon to be his chief strategist, suggesting that he could not be a white nationalist because he was well-educated and attended the London School of Economics and Harvard Business School.
As chief of staff, Priebus explored ways to change libel laws to make it easier for Trump to sue journalists who wrote unfavorable stories about the administration.
"I think it's something that we've looked at, and how that gets executed or whether that goes anywhere is a different story," he said in April 2017. "But when you have articles out there that have no basis or fact and we're sitting here on 24/7 cable companies writing stories about constant contacts with Russia and all these other matters."
The report on Russian interference in the 2016 election released by special counsel Robert Mueller in 2019 alleged that Priebus also quietly worked to protect Trump from the Mueller's investigation, urging former deputy national security adviser K.T. McFarland to lie for Trump and offering her an ambassadorship if she did.
Priebus also was accused by an ethics watchdog of improper communications with the FBI regarding its investigation into Russian interference, but the Justice Department inspector general declined to investigate. Priebus denied having inappropriate contacts.
After Democratic wins in the 2012 general election, Priebus, then the chair of the Republican National Committee, ordered an investigation into the reasons for the GOP's defeats. Rather than follow the resulting recommendations that the party embrace diversity and immigrants, Priebus instead used his apparatus in 2016 to help elect Trump, who ran on overt racism and xenophobia.
Priebus could face a tough primary fight: Several other Republicans, including former Lt. Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, are reportedly considering running.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.