Just one month after Donald Trump left the White House, a top donor to his campaign received a turn his personal cell from a Republican candidate seeking support .The call was unsolicited, consistent with four people conversant in things , and it rubbed the donor, whose friends had received similarly unexpected fundraising pleas, the incorrect way.
Shortly thereafter, the firm Jones Day, which served as counsel to Trump’s campaign committee, sent out a letter to former staff and consultants, warning them that they risked prosecution if they misused campaign resources. The letter then asked recipients to destroy or return any information they could have taken from the Trump campaign’s vast Rolodex of donor contacts.
A senior adviser to Trump insisted that the directive wasn’t in response to “a particular act” but merely to “make sure nobody was misusing valuable campaign data.”But inside Trumpworld, the episode sparked a game of whodunit over who had the audacity to abuse the confidential donor list, with GOP sources speculating that a pair of ex-Trump campaign hands were working to amass a donor profile of their own. And it added to the conflict that has broken out between competing factions that are seeking to maximize their time with Trump to attain new business and political clients.
“These are people that didn’t like one another four months ago and now all of them have a standard interest: the way to get some coin out of the Trump post-presidency,” said a former senior administration official, who like others would only mention internal squabbles on condition of anonymity.
For staff of a losing presidential candidate, the weeks and months then loss present difficult career choices. Many prefer to advance from politics altogether, worn down from the times on the trail. Others take day off or explore the lucrative fields of consultancy or K Street.
For some Trump aides, the landscape has been different. Getting jobs in corporate America has been difficult, due to the usually toxic reputation of the 45th president, especially after the Jan. 6 riots on Capitol Hill . Their boss, meanwhile, continues to float the thought that he will run president again, and he's within the process of fixing a political — and, potentially, social media — apparatus aimed toward cementing him as an enduring fixture in GOP politics. That has incentivized his onetime aides to remain within the game. it is 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 are squabbling for direct access to the ex-president as they filter in and out of Mar-a-Lago. Privately, they need accused others of overstating that access so as to attain House and Senate clients. There are whisper campaigns that some ex-staffers are misleading potential campaigns by telling them that, if hired, their candidate would have a far better chance of securing Trump’s endorsement. Other ex-Trump aides who have promised to arrange posh fundraisers for incumbent Republicans and GOP candidates at Mar-a-Lago became targets of mockery among their peers, who insist there's no single gatekeeper to Trump’s gilded club, where donors regularly gather to listen to from the party’s rising stars.
Recalling a recent fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago for one incumbent Republican, a Trump aide was incredulous that another had claimed to those attending that he was instrumental for arranging such gatherings — and, naturally, should be hired as a fundraising consultant for them.
“I don’t begrudge anyone for eager to make money . but don’t be so brazen about it,” the aide said.Several former campaign officials and top White House aides who’ve retained access to Trump either through regular meetings at Mar-a-Lago or weekly phone calls have launched their own ventures following the 2020 election. As they’ve tried to ingratiate themselves with new clients and donors, they need settled into different camps, each wary of the opposite .
Former campaign manager Bill Stepien teamed up with deputy campaign manager Justin Clark and adviser Nick Trainer to make a political consulting firm; former 2016 campaign aides Corey Lewandowski and Dave Bossie are tasked with creating a replacement super PAC for the ex-president; former White House policy adviser Stephen Miller is within the midst of launching a replacement legal group; and former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows is functioning for the Conservative Partnership Institute, which features a donor summit planned in Palm Beach next week. Others like Sergio Gor, the previous chief of staff for the Trump campaign’s committee , and Caroline Wren, another Trump fundraiser, are working closely with Republican candidates in 2022 races.
“Trump is surrounded by people that are telling him ‘you need us,’ but they actually need him,” said the person on the brink of the previous president.Trump spokesperson Jason Miller, who is in regular contact with the previous president and therefore the aides working for him currently, disputed claims of friction inside Trump’s orbit. Instead, Miller said he’s never seen such harmony.
“Having been around Trump World for five years now, i might argue that here’s the smallest amount amount of ally competition or conflict at now than I’ve ever seen,” he said. “The people that the president has kept in his orbit are all true believers who understand that he makes his own decisions, and that we have very specific roles supporting him.”
Another former aide who remains in frequent contact with Trump’s advisers agreed that the skeleton political operation is “getting along.”But the whisper campaigns and mudslinging are noticed well beyond Trump’s immediate team of aides. a number of the previous president’s most trusted external allies have personally urged him to dump his current squad, claiming that those he’s surrounded himself with are singularly focused on enriching themselves or too clumsy to be running a successful post-presidential operation.
“They’re competing for his money. I’ve told the president, ‘You got to be cognizant of this,’’' said a former senior administration official. “He doesn't need an enormous organization immediately peppered with crazy monthly retainers and unnecessary overhead.”Trump himself is conscious of the dynamics at play, consistent with multiple people that have either had direct discussions with the previous president or are conversant in things , a number of his closest aides say they want he would lay low until the 2022 midterm cycle kicks into full gear, a move that they believe would help mitigate the private clashes and confusion that some feel has consumed his current orbit.
[ news source POLITICO]