Conservative media figures ignored known turmoil in Donald Trump’s presidential campaign to claim that the termination of his campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski as a sign that the campaign is “about to get serious” and pivot to a more positive campaign.
Trump Campaign Fires Campaign Manager Amid Campaign Tensions
NY Times: Lewandowski Fired As Trump Faces Challenges Heading Into The General Election. On June 20, The New York Times reported that presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump fired Lewandowski, amid “increasing concerns” that Lewandowski was a “contentious campaign manager” who had a hostile relationship with the media:
Donald J. Trump fired his divisive campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, on Monday as he confronts urgent challenges heading into the general election — a strategic shift after months of concerns from party officials and donors about Mr. Lewandowski’s stewardship of the campaign.
The exit occurred a month before Mr. Trump, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, is to secure the official nomination at the party’s convention in Cleveland. It reflected a broader adjustment by the campaign as it grapples with a late start to fund-raising, anxiety among party leaders and a skeletal staff — all while Mr. Trump’s likely Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, swiftly builds out her operations in swing states.
Mr. Trump had faced increasing concerns from allies and donors, as well as his children, over whether Mr. Lewandowski, who had never before worked on a national race, was able to direct a battle against Mrs. Clinton. Among those who had voiced concern was Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, who told Mr. Trump last week that relations between his committee and Mr. Lewandowski had become increasingly strained, and that a change would be welcome, according to three people briefed on the discussion.
Republicans across the spectrum welcomed the firing as a positive step, but they suggested that it needed to be followed by consistent changes in performance from the candidate himself.
Mr. Lewandowski was fired at a Monday morning meeting with Mr. Trump and Mr. Trump’s two older sons, Eric and Donald Jr., said two others briefed on the meeting,who were not authorized to speak publicly. Mr. Trump and Mr. Lewandowski had what was described as a “very open conversation.” [The New York Times, 6/20/16]
Conservative Media Figures Spin Termination As Positive Campaign Development
Fox’s Dana Perino: "This Is Actually A Good Pivot ” For Trump Campaign. Fox News co-host Dana Perino claimed during the June 20 edition of Fox News’ The Five that Trump may have fired Lewandowski to demonstrate that he was able to “turn things around,” praising the move as a “good pivot” for the campaign:
DANA PERINO (CO-HOST): The timing is a little bit unfortunate for the Trump campaign because this is a decision that could have been made on Friday and could have gotten played out over the weekend, and Donald Trump could have started Monday fresh with a great new message and shown a real pivot to the campaign. That said, I think the Caputo thing is a little bit interesting, shows the drama is not quite settling. And also, I think it shows how amicable the departure was, at least between Donald Trump and Corey Lewandowski, that there must have been some great affection there and some loyalty and I think Donald Trump came to this decision reluctantly but was convinced it was the best thing to do for the campaign for whatever reasons they will hopefully tell us at some point. The RNC leaders were concerned, and I think that Manafort was hearing from them that Donald Trump needed to figure out a way to show he was actually able to turn things around, cause the narrative over the weekend was look at these falling poll numbers, and then you had the Orlando issue that went back to bite the Curiel issue, the Mexican judge, and so this is actually a good pivot, I think, for the campaign. [Fox News, The Five, 6/20/16]
The Weekly Standard’s Steve Hayes: Trump Campaign Wants To Show It’s “About To Get Serious” And Firing Lewandowski Is “The Reset.” The Weekly Standard’s Steve Hayes said during the June 20 edition of Fox News’ Special Report with Bret Baier that in light of many weeks of negative press coverage, the Trump campaign may have fired Lewandoski in an attempt to put “all of that behind them” and say “we’re about to get serious”:
STEVE HAYES: Look, anybody who's been covering this campaign has heard stories about Corey Lewandowski chewing out staffers or having conflict with Paul Manafort, who’s been the de facto campaign manager for a while. So, I think some kind of shake up was likely. He had a high profile skirmish, of course, with Michelle Fields. His name has been in the news. So I think that’s what this is an attempt to do to reset the campaign. This is also a campaign that's had several very bad weeks. I mean, I think you could make an argument that bad weeks back since Indiana, with one controversy after another. And unlike the primary season where these controversies didn't really seem to effect him, it didn’t effect his poll ratings, didn’t effect his abilities to win primaries, they are effecting him in the polls right now. You are certainly seeing it reflect in the comments that you’re getting from other Republicans about the party's nominee, more skepticism about him as the nominee. So I think this is an attempt to try to put all of that behind them to say we’re about to get serious and here is the reset. [Fox News, Special Report with Bret Baier, 6/20/16]
Fox Contributor Tammy Bruce: Trump’s Campaign Has “Clearly Taken The Reins Here” By Firing Lewandowski, “Adapting To The New General Election Dynamic.” Fox Contributor Tammy Bruce appeared on Fox Business News’ Countdown to the Closing Bell with Liz Claman to claim that firing Lewandowski was a “very good sign for the Trump team,” and that it showed the Trump campaign has “clearly taken the reins” to adapt to “the new general election dynamic”:
TAMMY BRUCE: I think this is a very good sign for the Trump team. They’ve clearly taken the reins here. They're adapting to the new general election dynamic, so you're looking at I think, also, probably more announcements coming up in the next few days or a week, a realization that they have to adapt before the convention. [Fox Business News, Countdown to the Closing Bell With Liz Claman , 6/20/16]
Fox Contributor Scott Brown: Removing Lewandowski Shows Trump Campaign Is Adapting And Growing. Fox News political contributor Scott Brown claimed on the June 20 edition of Fox News’ Your World with Neil Cavuto that Lewandowski’s removal indicates Trump’s campaign is “moving in a positive direction” and that the campaign is adapting and growing:
CHARLES PAYNE (HOST): Corey Lewandowski has since been on television, gave a pretty impressive interview where he expressed a tremendous amount of loyalty, but it seems to most outsiders that the Trump campaign is in disarray.
SCOTT BROWN: I don't agree with that at all, Charles. I think it’s actually moving in a positive direction because it was obviously -- Paul wanted to go one way, Corey wanted to go another way. He had others who want him to go a different way. The fact that he is now getting everything under one roof, I think is appropriate, has the backing of the children and Manafort has been there. He’s done it. But take nothing away from Corey. To take this fledgling campaign and make him be the nominee, I thought was brilliant. But like any business, and like any campaign, you’ve got to adjust and adapt and grow and that's what they're doing. [Fox News, Your World with Neil Cavuto, 6/20/16]
NY Post: Trump Is “At Last Shifting To A Real General-Election Campaign.” The New York Post editorial board wrote in a June 20 editorial that Trump firing Lewandowski suggests that Trump’s campaign is “at last shifting to a real general-election campaign”:
Monday’s ouster of Corey Lewandowski as Donald Trump’s campaign manager suggests the presumptive GOP nominee is at last shifting to a real general-election campaign.
Lewandowski helped Trump get farther than anyone expected a year ago — but apparently wasn’t the right guy to help him go the rest of the way. Lots of campaigns take longer to admit such unpleasant truths.
We doubt this means a huge shift in Trump’s strategy: He’s not going to bloat up his shop with hundreds of overpaid consultants. But he plainly needs to hire a few more quality people to help him focus his message.
Since locking up the nomination, Trump’s been hacking away at the golf ball — and too often slicing it into the rough. With the right coach, he should be able to slow down his swing and keep it in the green. [New York Post, 6/20/16]
HotAir.com Senior Editor: Trump Fired Lewandowski To Signal Intention To Embrace “More Scripted, Disciplined Approach To Campaigning.” HotAir.com senior editor “AllahPundit” speculated in a June 20 article that Trump purposefully fired Lewandowski on a Monday morning “because he’s sending a signal to the Republican leadership” that his campaign will adopt a “more scripted, disciplined approach to campaigning going forward”:
If Team Trump pulled him back because his termination was imminent, why not rush that out on Sunday after the morning shows were over and let it percolate while most of the country is ignoring the news? Either it’s pure messaging incompetence at work, which wouldn’t be surprising giving how thinly staffed Trump’s campaign is, or Trump wanted the news out there bright and early this morning at the start of the business week.
Trump may have saved the news for this morning because he’s sending a signal to the Republican leadership that he intends to embrace Paul Manafort’s more scripted, disciplined approach to campaigning going forward. Manafort, remember, was the guy Trump initially brought in to wrangle delegates when it looked like Cruz might beat him on the second ballot in Cleveland. Manafort quickly moved to supplant Lewandowski, though, as de facto campaign manager; he wanted Trump to tone things down for the general election and promised a roomful of Republican operatives that that transition would happen soon. Lewandowski wanted to let Trump be Trump. [HotAir.com, 6/20/16]