His time in the White House rapidly ending, President Donald Trump is rewarding some supporters and like-minded allies with the perks and prestige that come with serving on federal advisory boards and commissions.
On Thursday, Trump announced his intention to nominate two authors who wrote books that flattered him to a board that makes recommendations on education research. Another author who helped write a favorable book about the president was chosen for the same board a few days earlier.
On Wednesday, the Department of Defense announced that China hawk Michael Pillsbury would become the chair of a board that gives Pentagon leadership advice on how to enhance national security. Pillsbury has served as an outside adviser to the president on China.
And on Tuesday, Trump said he would appoint his former counselor and 2016 campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, to serve on the board of visitors to the U.S. Air Force Academy. Going to the same board will be Heidi Stirrup, an ally of top Trump adviser Stephen Miller.
She served as a White House liaison at the Justice Department and was told to vacate the building when top department officials learned of her efforts to collect inside information about ongoing cases and the department’s work on election fraud.
Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao was among the appointees to the board of trustees at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. She’s also married to Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
Matt Schlapp, chairman of the American Conservative Union and a perpetuator of Trump’s false claims of election fraud, will become a member of the Library of Congress Trust Fund Board.
It’s not unusual for outgoing presidents to make a flurry of appointments to boards and commissions before leaving office. With three days to go in his tenure, President Barack Obama named senior advisor Valerie Jarrett and national security advisor Susan Rice to the Kennedy Center board.
The positions that Trump has filled in recent weeks are generally on advisory boards in which members go without a salary, though they get reimbursed for travel expenses.