Donald Trump is coming under fire this morning from an MSNBC report that claims sources within the Trump campaign are stretched thin enough that the Republican nominee has, essentially, “no campaign.”
“Bottom line, you can hire all the top people in the world, but to what end? Trump does what he wants,” said a source close to the Trump campaign, according to MSNBC.
The report comes out as Trump is weathering a storm of criticism over his controversial remarks regarding a federal judge that rubbed many prominent Republican figures the wrong way, including House Speaker Paul Ryan.
The MSNBC report details how the Trump campaign’s unique internal structure has done more harm than good for the Republican nominee. Trump notoriously keeps a small campaign staff, which he claims keeps costs down and allows his campaign to be flexible, but the size of his staff has been something of a liability in recent months.
“They don’t or can’t cover it all, and there are things that happen that need to be addressed immediately and don’t get addressed at all, and that hurts the candidate,” said another alleged Trump staffer.
Donald Trump is an unconventional candidate and has so far run an unconventional campaign. According to MSNBC, presidential campaigns are typically much larger out of necessity. The massive undertaking of running for president typically requires a strong team with clearly defined roles. A communications team, for instance, to handle media outlets and put out fires before they start. Trump himself often takes on that role, handling controversies personally with appearances and interviews on major media networks.
The MSNBC report criticizes this approach, stating that sources within the Trump campaign are starting to doubt Trump’s ability to fight Hillary Clinton (or Bernie Sanders) in a general election campaign.
“These are things that will defeat [us],” said another source within the Trump campaign.
Of particular note are two recent controversies that have caused some serious harm to the Trump campaign. First up, Trump’s comments on the judge overseeing the Trump University lawsuit. Donald Trump famously alleged that the judge overseeing the case against him, Gonzalo Curiel, was a “Donald Trump hater,” in part because of what Trump calls his “Mexican heritage.”
Trump’s remarks on the judge have made waves within the Republican Party, but perhaps more importantly, Trump has doubled down on those statements. In an interview with CNN’s Jake Tapper, Trump went on to describe how a federal judge with “Mexican heritage” couldn’t possibly be impartial when it comes to Trump, who is “going to build a wall.”
Trump surrogates took to the airwaves to try and soften the blow, but Trump continued to hammer down on the idea that a judge who was born in Indiana is in some way biased against him because of his family’s ethnicity.
“It’s not a real surrogate operation. They’re supporters. They’re not on there for their value or merit,” said another campaign source.
The second controversy that the MSNBC report claims has been mishandled by the Trump campaign has been the ongoing Trump University lawsuit – in particular, the sealed documents released last week.
The Trump University documents contain damning allegations and strong evidence against Trump, which the campaign has thus far failed to address adequately, according to the MSNBC report.
A part of that mismanagement, claims the report, is the Trump campaign’s alleged infighting. According to the MSNBC report and the Atlantic, there is a power struggle currently unfolding between Trump campaign adviser Paul Manafort and campaign director Corey Lewandowski.
Lewandowski typically accompanies Trump on the ground, while Manafort manages from afar, but the rivalry between the two key staffers has reportedly caused a rift within the Trump campaign that threatens to undermine the Republican nominee’s chances in the general election.
[Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images]