You can’t spend as much time in large organizations as I have an not be a connoisseur of and fascinated with how the friction between toxic personalities can bring even the most dynamic organization to its knees. We’ve been chronicling for a while the lovely, bloody, internecine conflict going on within the Trump campaign as the girl-bruising he-man, the vicious niblet Corey Lewandowski has been locked in hand-to-gland combat with alleged Russian mob fixer and accused fraudster, Paul Manafort, for the possession of Donald Trump’s withered, malodorous soul.
Where Lewandowki had been happy to let the Trump campaign be a hotbed of violence, racism, and general thuggery, Manafort wanted something different. He didn’t object to any of that but he thought the campaign should take a shower, brush its teeth, put on a suit and try to appear civilized. In fact, Manafort assured GOP heavyweights that Trump was just putting on an act. That he didn’t believe any of that crazy stuff and would shortly, very shortly, begin to appear more presidential. Trump disappeared from the Sunday shows. He was replaced by a somnambulent Manafort who couldn’t even bother to be entertaining or to tell a plausible lie. Manafort brought in a collection of virtually unemployable losers, but all fixtures of GOP politics (funny how often the Venn Diagram of those two sets overlap), to replace long time staffers.
Well, now the Trump campaign’s imitation of Game of Thrones has taken a new twist:
Donald Trump is bristling at efforts to implement a more conventional presidential campaign strategy, and has expressed misgivings about the political guru behind them, Paul Manafort, for overstepping his bounds, multiple sources close to the campaign tell POLITICO.
Trump became upset late last week when he learned from media reports that Manafort privately told Republican leaders that the billionaire reality TV star was “projecting an image” for voters and would begin toning down his rhetoric, according to the sources. They said that Trump also expressed concern about Manafort bringing several former lobbying colleagues into the campaign, as first reported by POLITICO.
“I think it pisses him off that he was getting free television by going on the shows and now Paul Manafort is out there resurrecting his career,” said one campaign operative. Citing Manafort’s advocacy within the campaign for an expensive advertising push in upcoming states, the operative said Trump is “saying I can get on every show I want for free and you’re telling me not to do that and that I should pay for my advertising? That doesn’t pass the smell test to me.”
Why do we think Manafort, and guys like Rick Wiley (who burned Scott Walker’s campaign to the ground as part of a $26 million bonfire), want to spend money on paid advertising? Because 999 times out of a thousand they will funnel the media production and buying through companies they have an interest in and rake off part of the money to their own benefit.
In leaked audio from a presentation to the Republican National Committee, Manafort suggested that Trump’s bombastic campaign trail rhetoric was just “projecting an image” to win over voters. “The image is going to change,” Manafort said on the recording.
Around the same time, POLITICO revealed that Manafort brought in a handful of operatives who had ties to his lobbying firm, which had developed a niche representing a roster of controversial international clients who have been collectively described as “the torturers’ lobby.”
In particular, multiple sources said Trump was bothered by news stories about Manafort’s representation of Saudi Arabia and for a group accused of being a front for Pakistani intelligence.
“I don’t think he was aware of the extent of the work that Paul has done in foreign countries that have not always been friendly to the United States,” said a Washington operative with close relationships to the campaign.
How can you hire a senior person and not know that he has represented torturers, lobbied for a Pakistani intelligence front, and is enmeshed up to the roots of his dyed hair in the Russian mob (allegedly)? It isn’t like this stuff was secret.
Multiple sources said that Trump in recent days has re-empowered Lewandowski to handle the campaign’s finances and make some hiring decisions, partially reversing changes Manafort laid out this month when seizing some decision-making authority from Lewandowski.
Lewandowski was responsible for the campaign’s recent hiring of former Chris Christie campaign manager Ken McKay, who is working on delegate operations but is seen as an ally of Lewandowski’s, according to campaign sources.
And at his campaign appearances in the days since Manafort’s appearance at the RNC, Trump has served notice that he isn’t about to change his approach.
“If I acted presidential, I can guarantee you this morning, I wouldn’t be here,” Trump said Saturday in Waterbury, Connecticut.
Trump is not capable of acting in a way a sentient person would describe as “presidential.” He is a misogynist and could be described as having pedophilic or ephebophilic or incestuous tendencies:
He is ruthless and immoral. He has no scruples about defrauding business associates and customer, like, for instance, Trump University students. But what distinguishes Trump from a Borgia Pope is that he is crude and boorish and his high priced education has had no apparent effect. He has no intellectual curiosity and no apparent ability to master even the most mundane ideas. He is so grotesque that he has made Hillary Clinton seem like an inspired choice for president. In short, he is a powerful buffoon. And such a man should never be allowed to hold any position that requires impulse control and planning.