Meet the Dwight Schrute of the Trump Administration

Dwight Schrute
Dwight lives on way past the actual airtime of the show. | NBC

Fiction mirrors real life all too often. Sometimes, we can see the plots of our favorite books or movies unfold right before our eyes. Other times, we notice some stark similarities between certain characters on TV shows and celebrities or other public figures. It can be humorous or even fun to make silly comparisons. But sometimes, things get a little too real. Like when you start seeing real-life Cosmo Kramers and Dwight Schrutes start popping up in places that they shouldn’t.
When it comes to the Trump administration, the possible comparisons are endless. While Trump himself is, of course, ripe for parody, many members of his cabinet and in other top government posts are wildly unqualified and hilariously inept. Still, though, most of them are able to keep up at least the appearance of professionalism.
Until they run afoul of the boss, that is, or inadvertently outshine the master, as in the case of Steve Bannon.
But there’s one comparison that’s strikingly accurate, and it concerns the character of Dwight Schrute from the NBC sitcom The Office. The show has been off the air for several years now, but during its nine-season run, the Dwight character made a lasting impression. He was funny, make no mistake about it, but he also showcased the trademarks of toxic, horrible coworkers that drive everyone crazy. And actor Rainn Wilson was able to knock it out of the park.
So, when it comes to the Trump administration, are there any officials who embody Dwight Schrute? As it turns out, there is one with remarkably similar characteristics.
Next: Dwight Schrute — a primer.

Dwight Schrute: The man, the myth

Dwight Schrute The Office
He is hilarious on the show, but if you had to deal with him in real life… | NBC
  • Schrute in a nutshell: “Bears. Beets. Battlestar Galactica.”

If you’re unfamiliar with Dwight, he is, once again, the coworker from your nightmares. He’s annoying, far too serious, and disturbingly loyal to his boss. In the show, he was also an incredibly successful salesman — the company’s best, in fact — which made it all the more frustrating for his coworkers. Working with him would be tough, and it would be even tougher knowing that he was consistently outperforming you.
With that said, what are the key characteristics that make Dwight Dwight?
Next: What characteristics define a Schrutian character?

Schrute characteristics

Dwight from The Office
He might explain himself differently. | NBC
  • In Schrute’s own words: “Hardworking. Alpha male. Jackhammer.”

Dwight would probably describe himself differently than an observer. He is hardworking, we’ll give him that, but as for an “alpha male” or “jackhammer”? That’s debatable. If we were going to narrow down some of his personality traits and characteristics, we’d come up with a list that looks like this:

  • Loyal
  • Sycophantic
  • Driven
  • Narcissistic
  • Paranoid
  • Power-hungry
  • Humorless

Looking at the Trump administration, who does this sound like?
Next: Sniffing out Donald Trump’s Assistant to the Regional Manager.

Who is Trump’s Schrute?

There’s one who fits better than the rest. | NBC
  • Given our list of characteristics, there are a surprising number of candidates. 

You can say a lot about the Trump administration. But if there are two terms that seem to describe almost everyone in the White House, it’s probably “humorless” and “sycophantic”. There’s also a good amount of narcissism spilling down from the top. For that reason, it’s hard to really nail down a good “Dwight” character. But there is one man who probably embodies them all more so than all the rest — and he’s not technically part of the administration. He’s a member of Congress representing California’s 22nd District, smack-dab in the middle of the state.
Next: We pick a winner.

The winner: Rep. Devin Nunes

Devin Nunes and Dwight Schrute
Left: Nunes has some very Schrute-like characteristics. | Mark Wilson/Getty Images, Right: Dwight would probably get along well with him. NBC
  • Rep. Devin Nunes has been more Dwight-like than anyone else since Trump won the White House.

Nunes has been as loyal as anyone in Washington to the Trump White House. While many members of the administration working closely with the president are now gone, Nunes is still working hard to do Trump’s bidding. He’s been in the news for drafting a secret memo that reportedly attacks the FBI and Department of Justice, but you probably remember him as the man who sparked the “unmasking” controversy in early 2017.
That controversy, as it turned out, as more or less manufactured by Nunes himself, as he had pretended to have found contentious information about FISA warrants relating to the Trump campaign, but it turned out that the White House had given him that information and instructed him to pretend that he had uncovered it himself.
Next: Digging into the connection.

The Nunes-Schrute connection

Representative Devin Nunes
He matches up with most of the characteristics. | Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images
  • Nunes really “Schruted it”.

The Nunes-Schrute comparison really grows legs when we refer back to our original list of Dwight characteristics. Nunes, it appears, is a perfect match. He’s certainly loyal and sycophantic to his boss — although not his real boss, the voters of California’s 22nd District, whom he was elected to represent. Perhaps more loyal than anyone in government. As for the rest of the list?
Driven? Check.
Narcissistic? To a point, sure.
Power-hungry? He did recuse himself from an investigation and then refused to relinquish control, so, yes.
Paranoid? Absolutely.
And humorless? 100%.
But there’s also another crazy similarity that really solidifies the connection.
Next: The one thing that solidifies the Dwight Schrute-Devin Nunes connection.

The most obvious similarity?

Dwight Schrute beet farmer and Michael Scott from The Office
Dwight is very proud of his beet farming past. | NBC
  • They’re both farmers!

We all know that Dwight is a beet farmer, perhaps before a paper salesman. And oddly enough, Nunes is also a farmer. That’s right, Nunes successfully went from dairy farmer to heading-up the Trump-Russia investigation for the House Intelligence committee. While most of his colleageus in Congress are lawyers, business executives, etc., Nunes has a unique background. Being a farmer isn’t, of course, a knock against him. But if you really needed a final nail in the Schrute-Nunes comparison, this is it.
Finally: Other Office characters and their Trump administration counterparts.

Other characters?

Mike Pence and Angela Martin from the Office
Left: Mike Pence and Angela both share a fervent Christianity. | Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images, Right: Angela is just as homophobic as Pence. | NBC

Just for fun, let’s compare some other characters from The Office to current government officials. Here’s what we came up with:

  • Mike Pence: Angela
  • Sarah Huckabee-Sanders: Phyllis Vance
  • Jared Kushner: Ryan Howard
  • Ivanka Trump: Kelly Kapoor
  • Steve Mnuchin: Andy Bernard
  • Jim Mattis: Toby Flenderson
  • Rex Tillerson: Stanley Hudson
  • Rick Perry: Kevin Malone
  • And finally — Anthony Scaramucci: Todd Packer.

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