WASHINGTON, Word surfaced Wednesday of more intense infighting within the campaign of Republican front-runner Donald Trump, in the wake of his resounding defeat in Wisconsin on Tuesday.
The campaign’s inner workings have increasingly become a part of the story surrounding Trump’s once-long-shot bid for the White House after his campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, was charged with battery after allegedly manhandling a female reporter during a press event in Florida last month.
Since then, stories have surfaced citing anonymous sources close to the campaign about controversial staff layoffs and a corrosive attitude from Lewandowski — which includes complaints of micromanaging, profanity-laced tirades unleashed on junior staffers and his being overly protective of Trump.
A POLITICO article, published Tuesday under the headline “Trump campaign in disarray”, paints a picture of feuding camps within Team Trump and a voter identification data team without an experienced manager, leading to a hampered get-out-the-vote effort in several states.
“I believe that Donald Trump has the backbone to fix this country, but if changes are not made soon at the top I am fairly convinced that he will lose,” one of the people who left the campaign told POLITICO. “I don’t think Mr. Trump knows what’s happening on his campaign. Everyone is in astonishment of what’s going on. It’s almost like they’re sabotaging themselves.”
NBC News published a similar story Wednesday which cited anonymous sources within the campaign as saying conflict has arisen since veteran GOP campaign strategist Paul Manafort was brought in.
Initially, Manafort was said to have been hired to oversee Trump’s convention strategy and to help attract delegates. Since then, however, sources told NBC that Manafort has sought to expand his influence to include oversight of the campaign’s strategy in the remaining primary states.
That, sources said, has irked Lewandowski, whose role in the campaign may be diminishing as a result of the conflict.
Lewandowski was quoted in both stories, firmly denying any internal discord on the Trump campaign. He said some staffing decisions have proved difficult, but are “the nature of a campaign.”
“We have the most cohesive, loyal staff — the most loving staff I have ever had the privilege of working with on a campaign,” Lewandowski said.