“As of this morning, it has been eight days and 23 unanswered phone calls since I last spoke with Joe,” wrote Jacob Perry, a Tallahassee-based Republican campaign operative and Trump critic who had signed on to run the former Illinois congressman’s longshot challenge to the president’s renomination next year. Two days earlier, Walsh had penned a New York Times op-ed hinting at a potential run against Trump.

“Needless to say, it’s the first time in my entire career that I’ve been hired to run a campaign and then been completely ghosted by the candidate,” Perry wrote to a small group of potential campaign vendors and staffers in an email obtained by The Daily Beast. “It’s obvious to me that the campaign plan that we have all worked hard on together in anticipation of a launch today isn’t going to happen, so I am officially releasing all of you from your obligations and agreements.”