Inside the "Lord of the Flies" factionalism now plaguing Trumpland

For some Trump aides, the landscape has been different. Getting jobs in corporate America has been difficult, owing to the often toxic reputation of the 45th president, especially after the Jan. 6 riots on Capitol Hill. Their boss, meanwhile, continues to float the idea that he will run for president again, and he is in the process of setting up a political — and, potentially, social media — apparatus aimed at cementing him as a lasting fixture in GOP politics. That has incentivized his one-time aides to stay in the game. It’s also sparked infighting, as those aides view maintaining their MAGA bonafides as critical for landing on current and future Republican campaigns.

Within Trump’s orbit, former aides and advisers have been squabbling for direct access to the ex-president as they filter in and out of Mar-a-Lago. Privately, they have accused others of overstating that access in order to score House and Senate clients. There have been whisper campaigns that some ex-staffers are misleading potential campaigns by telling them that, if hired, their candidate would have a better chance of securing Trump’s endorsement. Other ex-Trump aides who have promised to organize posh fundraisers for incumbent Republicans and GOP candidates at Mar-a-Lago have become targets of mockery among their peers, who insist there is no single gatekeeper to Trump’s gilded club, where donors regularly gather to hear from the party’s rising stars.