If I were Trump, I’d be royally pissed at my former campaign manager for seizing an opportunity to fuel the fire of an unflattering story in the middle of the convention in order to settle a grudge with my current campaign manager. But that’s just me. Maybe Trump will see it as “showing initiative” or proof of a “warrior spirit” or whatever. Either way, kudos, I guess, to CNN for giving Corey a national platform to work out his grievances with the campaign in full public view.
Looks like the knife fight will continue into the afternoon, which I’m sure is how Team Trump wanted to spend day two:
Here at the Q, Manafort allies are swatting back Lewandowski. Tensions still raw between these two Trump blocs…
— Robert Costa (@costareports) July 19, 2016
It’s goofy to think Manafort should resign over something as trivial as a few pilfered lines in a First-Lady speech. Thinking he should resign because he can’t resist throwing punches in cases where basic damage control would ease a crisis is a stronger argument. Interestingly, even Manafort ally and Lewandowski nemesis Roger Stone is tired of the infighting:
“Campaigns cannot be a democracy, they must be a dictatorship,” Stone told POLITICO’s Mike Allen and Anna Palmer at a Playbook Breakfast…
“Campaign managers must flow from the candidate because he or she is the ultimate authority in their campaign, and it’s important that everybody be pulling in that same direction,” Stone said. “If you’re too worried about what your job is going to be in the White House, if you’re measuring the curtains, you’re disserving your candidate.”…
“I generally think that any campaign that has factions and has divisions is going to lose,” Stone said. “Perhaps he thought that this was keeping everybody honest and this competition was healthy—I just never thought that it was.”
Presumably that’s Stone’s way of nudging Trump to purge all remaining Corey loyalists inside the campaign. Even if he did, though, you’ve still got the problem of Lewandowski himself using his CNN megaphone to stir up trouble with Manafort on TV. That’s the most surprising thing about this clip, that Corey would dare try to spoil his former (and future?) boss’s party by handing the media some more intramural drama to buzz about. Trump likely could have gagged Lewandowski with one phone call warning him that if he isn’t a good soldier for the rest of the campaign there’ll be no White House job waiting for him next year. Why did Corey think he could get away with knifing Manafort this way? Is Trump okay with that, per what Stone said about “healthy” competition?
Exit question: Who’s going to be managing Trump’s campaign on Election Day? Maybe it depends on how Pence, Manafort’s pick, does as VP. If he’s strong the next few months, that’ll reassure Trump that he made the right move bouncing Corey in favor of Paul. If he’s a letdown, watch out.