Trump Fires Campaign Manager Who Got Him Through The Primaries
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
Late last night, the Clinton and Trump campaigns released campaign finance numbers. And those numbers did not look very good for Donald Trump. The report reveals Hillary Clinton's team has $42.4 million of cash on hand, while Donald Trump has $1.3 million in cash. That's a record-low figure for presumptive major party candidate at this point in the campaign. These finance figures came at the end of a pretty long and difficult day for the Trump campaign.
RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:
Yesterday morning, Trump fired his longtime campaign manager Corey Lewandowski. Despite losing his job, though, Lewandowski did not waiver from the Trump talking points in an interview later in the day on CNN.
(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)
COREY LEWANDOWSKI: We are leaner, meaner, more efficient, more effective, get bigger crowds, get better coverage. That's very important to understand that Mr. Trump can go directly to the people.
GREENE: All right, Corey Lewandowski there who lost his job as Donald Trump's campaign manager yesterday. Joining us now is someone who is very familiar with the Trump campaign and watched it closely since it kicked off just over a year ago. Rick Tyler is a political analyst, and he was communications director for Senator Ted Cruz's failed presidential bid. Rick, welcome back to the program.
RICK TYLER: Good morning, David.
GREENE: So Corey Lewandowski helps Donald Trump win primaries in 37 states. Why get rid of him now if you're the Trump campaign?
TYLER: Well, I think, the Machiavellian power struggle came to a head yesterday, and Corey lost and Paul Manafort won. And, I think...
GREENE: Paul Manafort who's sort of been seen as the - as the replacement and has been for a while now.
TYLER: Yeah, he was - he was brought in to manage the convention because there was going to be perhaps a contested convention because Ted Cruz was going to have enough delegates and he wasn't going to get enough delegates. So Paul Manafort was going to manage that. That went away when Donald Trump secured the requisite number of delegates.
And so Paul, not being satisfied with not having a job really anymore (laughter) - or at least not the same job - decided to edge out Corey. And the way I think he did it was he got to the family. And, look, I've worked on a lot of campaigns, families get involved to varying degrees. It's never a good idea - almost never - because most families don't have political experience. And at the presidential level, what - what you need and rely on is experience.
GREENE: You're saying this is - this is strange for a political campaign to have a family - the Trump family - being so crucial in making all the decisions and Manafort was able to...
TYLER: I don't know that it's strange. It's predictable and it can happen. But it's not usually a good idea because families have different agenda items, right? They, you know, they're not always all focused on one goal, which in this case is winning the White House. They may be focused on the Trump businesses going forward in the future. And so - and families don't usually have experience with any campaign whatsoever and never mind a presidential campaign.
GREENE: So if you're Donald Trump and the Trump family, I mean, what - what do you see in Paul Manafort that you want right now as opposed to, you know, a campaign manager like Lewandowski?
TYLER: I'm guessing they went to Donald Trump and said what we're doing is not working, that it's failing and we need to make a change. And sometimes when a campaign needs to make a change or things are going so badly - and they have been going badly when you have polling numbers where women see Trump negatively at 77 percent, Hispanics worse, African-Americans worse and even the electorate at large, the potential voters for Trump, at almost 70 percent - things aren't going well.
And with the finance report yesterday, you know, 1 to 42 million is not where you want to be. And you can run - look, you can run the, you know, the greatest message in the world. I think they have a - an OK message. But then you got to pay for that message to get out there for people to hear it in battleground states. And when Hillary Clinton's already placed almost $21 million worth of ads and he's placed zero, this is winding up to be a problem. So they needed some - they needed to say we're serious about change. That's what the family convinced Donald Trump of. And moving Corey off was the signal that we're going to change things.
GREENE: Corey Lewandowski was sort of seen as the man who let Trump be Trump.
GREENE: And there seemed to be a lot of voters...
GREENE: ...Who responded to that. Is there a risk in not having him around that people like Paul Manafort, as you described him, will try and rein him in a way that won't let him be himself.
TYLER: Yeah, I've always been interested in this, let Trump be Trump because I think Corey essentially is right, except that what we need to let Trump be Trump. We need to give him other vehicles to let Trump be Trump. In other words, when - he said just two days ago that, you know, here I am - and he saw Wayne Newton in the first row - and he says, here I am performing for Wayne Newton. It's interesting that he said performing because he is a performer, and performers need biofeedback from audiences. They need to get excited. I don't know how you guys do this because you get no biofeedback from anybody but - (laughter) but he needs...
GREENE: No performing in here - we're just - we're doing the news.
TYLER: ...Right, but he needs that and someone - a writer needs to give him something where he gets the audience involved so he gets the feedback. And that's a change that could happen that didn't happen.
GREENE: All right, we've been talking to Rick Tyler. He's former communications director for Republican candidate Ted Cruz, talking about the campaign manager for Donald Trump losing his job yesterday. Thanks a lot, Rick.
TYLER: Appreciate it. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.