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Friday, August 19, 2016

As the Trump turns - daily GOP drama

"Manafort is leaving on good terms with the campaign, and will remain an ally and outside confidant of the campaign, according to a close associate of his who spoke on the condition of anonymity Friday to The Washington Post."  Does anybody on Donald Trump's campaign know that any "outside confidant help" must be reported as an "in kind" campaign contribution? 

A presidential political campaign is not suitable for soap opera drama! Wake up America! Dump Trump!

Still absent ideas, vision and his income taxes as secret as a national security briefing, Donald Trump continues to create political news like he's acting for reality TV.  

But, wake up Donald !! You're trying to convince us to vote for you?  Your family are paper doll cut outs without personality, your political campaign is falling apart (twice!) and your message is driven by bigotry. This isn't reality TV! Your appeal to voters is as full of inconsistencies as Ryan Lochte's robbery story, concocted in Rio di Janeiro.

Every day seems like causes more useless drama!

June 20th headlines: The Daily Trail: Donald Trump's day started out bad. It got worse.  "As we've long noted, Donald Trump has said he wants to run a different campaign than the one Mitt Romney did in 2012. On that front, he is succeeding handsomely," wrote Rebecca Sinderbrand in The Washington Post.

The Fix: The craziest 24 hours of Donald Trump’s campaign so Amber Phillips (But wait! There's more! got worse!) "Donald Trump knows how to put on a solid media spectacle. But as my colleague Dan Balz so astutely points out, these past 24 to 48 hours of vice-presidential drama suggests a campaign out of control with its messaging. The Veep drama, which ended after after Trump tweeted Friday morning he'd chosen Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R), went something like this: Donald Trump said he had a name. Then he had five, maybe 10. Then one guy in mind. Then two. Maybe it was this guy, he told aides. Yes, definitely this guy. Actually, it might not be this guy; his family and advisers want other guys. Then, publicly: "I haven't made up my mind," Trump said Thursday night, following reports he had indeed made up his mind. Oh wait, he actually has made up his mind — and just in the nick of time." wrote Phillips.

Today, Friday, will drive the weekend soap opera with this new development:  Trump campaign chairman and chief strategist Paul Manafort on Friday resigned, following a staff shake-up this week that reduced his role in the campaign.  GOP nominee Donald Trump confirmed the resignation in a statement Friday morning: “This morning Paul Manafort offered, and I accepted, his resignation from the campaign. I am very appreciative for his great work in helping to get us where we are today,
and in particular his work guiding us through the delegate and convention process. Paul is a true professional and I wish him the greatest success.”  (Ohhhhpaleeeeze!)

Manafort's resignation comes as the campaign seeks to correct course after weeks of damaging controversies and self-inflicted wounds, effectively evaporating Trump’s steady footing against Clinton in the polls and his (now evaporated) post-convention bump. Trump is now trailing Clinton in every major poll.

Manafort repeatedly signaled to members of the Republican establishment that he and Trump were working together to rebrand the candidate in a more presidential light. But hopes of a so-called “pivot” vanished as the summer wore on and Trump appeared intent on settling scores with former rivals within his own party and critics. Perhaps most damaging was Trump's attack on a Gold Star family – who lost their son, Army Capt. Humayun Khan, while he served in Iraq – for speaking out against him at the Democratic National Convention. He later refused to apologize or express regret. (As an act of retribution this is a signal of how Donald Trump would govern?  He's definitely modeling his political ambitions after Vladimir Putin!)

But aside from Trump’s own missteps, Republican strategists also became increasingly concerned that the campaign, under the direction of Manafort, failed to build a robust infrastructure in key battleground states. Though the campaign is relying heavily on the Republican National Committee (RNC- that would be Reince Priebus? )
for its ground game, lackluster efforts by the main campaign have left Trump under prepared for the competitive general election on the ground.

Manafort’s personal business dealings have also come under intense scrutiny in recent weeks, amid damaging questions over his ties to foreign governments and indications that he might have received $12 million in undisclosed cash payments. The alleged payments, which Manafort denied, were noted in a ledger kept by former Ukraine president Viktor Yanukovych's political party. Since then, more evidence has surfaced that raised concerns about his ties to the Kremlin.

Manafort formally joined Trump's campaign in late March to oversee preparations for the Republican convention, which at that point was poised to turn into a battle for delegates. He immediately clashed with Corey Lewandowski, Trump's long-serving campaign manager who had never worked on a presidential campaign. 

For months, the two scuffled for power and access to Trump.

On May 19, after Trump collected the necessary number of delegates to lock-up the nomination, Trump promoted Manafort to the position of campaign chairman, a clear slight to Lewandowski. One month after that, Trump fired Lewandowski on June 20, clearing Manafort to run the campaign.

The firing followed Trump's controversial comments about the heritage of a judge assigned to a civil case involving Trump University, which many strategists blamed Lewandowski for failing to rein in.

Manafort took a much different approach to running the campaign than Lewandowski had. While Lewandowski and his small band of aides with limited or no presidential campaign experience operated under a motto of "Let Trump Be Trump," Manafort quickly seemed to implement some limits on Trump. Prior to Manafort's arrival, Trump was frequently a guest on the influential Sunday morning news shows that often set the tone for the week, sometimes calling into or appearing on numerous shows the same day. Starting this spring, Trump's appearances became rarer -- and Manafort often appeared in his place.  (Perhaps, thankfully for Democrats, this tactic was a "huge" mistake, as Trump might coin the phrase.)

So, if it's true that future performance is usually predicted by the past and "you can't teach a 70 year old new tricks", then this continuous drama is a clear indication about how unqualified Donald Trump is to be a political leader. It's urgent! Trump needs to resign very soon, because his leadership is just too terrible a risk for the GOP to take if they want to remain a viable political party.

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