Mark Halperin: Lewandowski Firing Is Trump's Chance “To Turn The Page” And Run A “Traditional Campaign”

From the June 20 edition of MSNBC's MSNBC Live:

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JOSE DIAZ-BALART (HOST): Yesterday when we were at Meet the Press together, we had a chance to talk about the differences in the campaign structures, right, between Trump and Clinton. You know, we were commenting on just how small that nucleus of the Trump campaign really is. And now with Lewandowski gone, it's even smaller. How do you see this?

MARK HALPERIN: Jose, you get rid of your campaign manager for one of two reasons or both. One is for the symbolism. If your allies or the media wants the so-called page turned, you want to suggest you understand you have a problem. The other is substantive. And despite the denials from both Paul Manafort, the chairman, and Corey Lewandowski and their allies, things were bad between them. There was a lot of dysfunction between them. This now presumably turns things over to Paul Manafort to make the kind of personnel changes he wants to make. Lewandowski had extraordinary influence over Donald Trump and you have to give him credit for being part of a very small team that helped to get Donald Trump the nomination. But with Lewandowski departing, there's now a chance for the campaign to both, as I said, turn the page on the narrative of things and say yes, we understand things are not going the right way, and for those associated with Paul Manafort to make the kind of changes and the kind of hiring decisions that they wanted to make.

DIAZ-BALART: And what are some of those decisions that need to be made when you see the difference in the campaign, the strategy. You're seeing the Hillary Clinton campaign putting up big money in eight key states and, you know, the other side zero. What are some of those changes that right now need to be implemented in order for this thing to even start moving again?

HALPERIN: Well, look, there's plenty of people who believe, and I believe Paul Manafort is one of them, that you can do what Corey Lewandowski preached, let Trump be Trump. Take the benefits and the skills of Donald Trump, which are clear. The guy can get a lot of media attention, he can drive a message, he can rally a crowd. Take all those things, but marry them up to a more traditional campaign. Even in this age of everything being done differently and of change, you still need TV ads, you still need to raise money. You still need a consistent message and message discipline. And part of the challenge of managing Donald Trump is he goes out on the campaign trail, rarely did Paul Manafort travel with him, where he doesn't really carry a cell phone that he uses regularly, doesn't have email, and says whatever he wants. And people around the campaign, including a lot of the donors, a lot of people on Capitol Hill would like to see just a more disciplined operation. That means TV ads, it means better fund-raising coordination, it means most of all driving a message every day that's not whatever Donald Trump feels like talking about, but what actually makes sense. And even down to the level, again, basic for even a Senate race, but not been on the Trump campaign, coordinating the travel, the message, the surrogate activity based on data about what actually needs to be done to win 270 electoral votes. They were on a track with the way Corey Lewandowski was influencing the campaign to do things the way they'd been doing them. And based on the recent polling, based on the panic, not too strong a word, amongst Republicans, doing things the way they've been doing them was not, in the view of most people, going to lead to a good result. This gives them the opportunity to build a more traditional structure, again, respecting what got Trump this far and there's no doubt in my mind that Paul Manafort respects that. He just wants to harness it up to a more traditional operation.


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