Who had the worst week in Washington? Maureen McDonnell
Those are just a couple of the words that Mary-Shea Sutherland, former chief of staff to Maureen McDonnell, used to describe her onetime employer during the public-corruption trial of Maureen and her husband, Robert — aka the former governor of Virginia. The McDonnells are on trial because of their relationship with Jonnie Williams, a Virginia businessman who lavished the couple (and their children) with gifts in hopes of gaining attention for a dietary supplement called Anatabloc.
The picture Sutherland painted of Maureen McDonnell — a mean and controlling boss with no sense of the limits between personal and professional life — was just one of the blows to the former first lady’s image during this past week of the trial.
Phil Cox, a former top McDonnell aide and now executive director of the Republican Governors Association, took the stand Monday and described a “train wreck” conversation in which Maureen pitched Anatabloc to Ann Romney, the wife of 2012 presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Maureen, according to Cox, told Romney that the supplement might be able to cure her multiple sclerosis.
All of this comes after the McDonnells’ defense attorneys cast Maureen as a lonely woman in an unhappy marriage who had a “crush” on Williams, never thinking that all the gifts and attention he showered on her had anything to do with the fact that her husband was the governor.
Maureen McDonnell, for being clueless, mean or both, you had the worst week in Washington. Congrats, or something.
Cillizza covers the White House for The Washington Post and writes The Fix, its politics blog.