Disarray is growing inside GOP frontrunner Donald Trump’s campaign with field staff being cut and an alleged conflict between Trump’s campaign manager and his new delegate strategist, according to Politico.
Following a loss to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) in Wisconsin on Tuesday, Trump scheduled a meeting with Paul Manafort, who was recently hired to organize delegate efforts for the billionaire, on Wednesday morning.
However, Politico is reporting the meeting could result in conflict, suggesting Manafort and Trump’s campaign manager Corey Lewandowski are struggling for power.
On Saturday, Lewandowski went as far as to fire a young operative named James Baker, who’d been recently put in charge of its Colorado campaign—he’d arrived in the state less than 48 hours earlier—because he’d been communicating with Manafort after Lewandowski instructed him not to do so, two sources with direct knowledge of the situation confirmed.
“Corey and his people know the knives are out for them,” Politico reports, quoting an anonymous source reportedly close to the Trump campaign, who also called Manafort a “pretty experienced in-fighter.”
Politico notes that Manafort is likely to threaten to quit the campaign if there isn’t more cooperation.
“If Manafort walks, this thing comes apart,” Politico’s source said. “And some of the people close to him are ready to walk.”
The alleged infighting between Manafort and Lewandowski comes after Politico’s earlier report about the campaign cutting staff in Iowa, Ohio, Florida, and South Carolina as well as its key data operative Matt Braynard, without training a replacement.
“Since March, the campaign has been laying off field staff en masse around the country and has dismantled much of what existed of its organizations in general-election battlegrounds, including Florida and Ohio,” Politico reports.
Lewandowski dismissed the rumored disarray inside the campaign, telling Politico, “We have the most cohesive, loyal staff, the most loving staff I have ever had the privilege of working with on a campaign,” adding that senior members of the campaign “have such an amazing relationship that the morale is the greatest ever.”
He explained that letting staff go in states that have already held their primaries is “the nature of a campaign.”
“Just like a real corporation, the people who are doing the best and want to continue on, they’re given that opportunity,” Lewandowski analogized. “Some people don’t want to move for family reasons or whatever it may be. And then, some people, based on performance have been not given the privilege of moving.”