What happens when you take the Donald Trump presidential campaign headquarters and shake it up real hard? Trump got smacked in the forehead after his opponent Ted Cruz used his super-organized delegate catcher and vacuumed up delegates all over the country. Trump was not happy.
So things changed. He brought in convention manager Paul Manafort and Rick Wiley to lead his charge and gave them $20 million in their pocket to spend. This is a big deal for the notoriously tight billionaire.
After all, he has only spent $32 on his entire campaign so far, according to the Federal Election Commission filings. Why should he have spent his own money, when the media was so eager to display Trump’s outrageous activity for free?
This $20 million is to help the billionaire prevent problems like the one he recently faced, winning the popular vote but losing the delegates. A professional campaign manager would have anticipated this. After raucous rallies and winning the popular votes, Trump didn’t expect to have to go to state conventions to get delegates.
The new budget will finance an aggressive advertising plan and add staff to Trump’s headquarters in New York and in states along the campaign trail, specifically communications people.
But Trump’s long-timers are not happy about the changes. After all, campaign manager Corey Lewandowski moved Trump from a fringe candidate to the leading GOP contender.
Trump told Stuart Jolly Saturday that he would have had to move from under Lewandowski’s command to working for political director Wiley, who was only hired last week. Wiley formerly ran Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s failed presidential campaign and will be a direct report to Manafort, who joined up last month. Manafort reports to Trump.
Monday, Jolly turned in his letter of resignation, because he didn’t want to work for Wiley. According to POLITICO:
‘Stuart will not work with Rick Wiley. It just wasn’t going to happen.’
Jolly’s resignation letter expressed “deepest gratitude” to Trump and referred to Lewandowski as “one of my best friends” and “initially the reason I joined this campaign.” Trump stated that:
‘Those early victories were magical and I will never forget them.’
Jolly formerly worked with Lewandowski at Americans for Prosperity, specifically on policy fights, but he had never worked on a national campaign. Lewandowski hired Jolly, the retired Army lieutenant colonel, to focus on upcoming Southern states.
According to POLITICO:
‘Stuart is the only guy who has worked with the field staff, and they are loyal to him. He is the only guy who understands how this works. It is going to be a huge shock when he leaves.’
Jolly hired the campaign’s field staff members, and those employees are worried about their own positions, but Trump assured them that they could stay as long as the campaign lasted.
Trump’s stinginess with salaries interfered with hiring a top-tier campaign staff, and his unfamiliarity with the strategy of presidential races hindered the campaign. Not only that, Trump hires face possible black-listing.
The conservative digital firm Target Victory has faced questions as has his law firm Jones Day. Numerous staffers at the Americans for Prosperity, backed by the Koch brothers, have turned down Trump, because they were:
‘…concerned about what that would do to their reputation in professional circles going forward.’
If people work for Trump, experienced GOP operative and current corporate consultant Juleanna Glover said:
“In the world Fortune 100 companies, their careers would be severely curtailed.”
Katie Packer runs an anti-Trump super PAC and served as deputy campaign manager for Mitt Romney’s presidential said:
‘I know that I would never hire or want to work with somebody who tried to help Trump. It would be disqualifying…there are a lot of people who share my view.’
Matt Braynard started last fall managing Trump’s data team, and he got a warning email from a long-time GOP operative:
‘You realize once you go Trumptard, your career in GOP politics is over?’
A Saturday meeting was held at the campaign’s headquarters at Manhattan’s Trump Tower and was attended by Manafort, Wiley, Lewandowski, and deputy campaign manager Michael Glassner.
The purpose of the Saturday meeting was to strategize about the California primary and Manafort’s California advertising campaign:
‘Manafort told Trump he’s going to have to spend a bunch more money if they’re going to get to 1,237 [delegates needed to win the nomination] — especially if they’re going to win California.’
He also laid out a plan for hiring at least five additional communications staffers to work in a national press office, that has been mostly run by spokeswoman Hope Hicks, a recent political employee.
Manafort had already been building a shadow campaign team running in tandem with Lewandowski’s pre-existing team. Staffers faced two bosses with conflicting orders.
Trump hopes to get between 200 and 255 delegates between New York Tuesday and the next five states on April 26.
Jolly, Manafort, and Wiley had no comment at this time. Lewandowski refused to talk about the Saturday meeting except to say it was “a productive meeting with the senior staff to talk about our path to victory.”