The Slatest

Trump Campaign Departures Suggest That Perhaps This Is a Highly Dysfunctional Enterprise

Donald Trump gives a press conference on the ninth tee at his Trump Turnberry Resort on June 24 in Ayr, Scotland.

Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Every so often, the Trump campaign blasts out a new mass email about hires it’s made to flesh out its infrastructure beyond Trump and a few goons. Around the same time these emails go out, news outlets report that some hire announced a week or a month previously has already quit. You can set your watch to it.

On Friday morning, Trump announced that he had hired well-known pollster Kellyanne Conway, who recently served on one of Sen. Ted Cruz’s super PACs, and had promoted Karen Giorno from a regional position to that of senior political adviser. Around the same time the campaign was going public with these appointments, two other staffers who had the impossible job of managing Trump’s surrogates—the people who have to go on TV and speak up for Trump—were resigning.


Kevin Kellems, whom the campaign hired on June 20 to oversee surrogates, resigned after a full 10 days on the job, the New York Times reports. “While brief, it has been an interesting experience, and am proud of the contributions made through our early-phase project endeavors,” is a hilarious sentence Kellems wrote in his resignation letter.

Erica Freeman, another surrogate wrangler, also resigned. Freeman was the communications staffer Trump infamously described as “not so smart” in a conference call with surrogates last month, when he insisted that they reject talking points she had written and only say what he tells them to say instead. It’s unclear what about the work environment could have compelled her to resign.

This news comes a day after it was reported that digital consultant Vincent Harris, from Sen. Rand Paul’s orbit, was let go within a week of being brought onboard. The campaign also fired manager Corey Lewandowski last month, and its brief relationship with political director (and former Scott Walker campaign manager) Rick Wiley ended in late May. Trump is also having trouble getting anyone to speak at his convention and most of the people who’ve expressed active interest in serving as his vice president—Newt Gingrich, Sen. Jeff Sessions, Chris Christie—come from the same narrow genus of crank.

Congratulations to Kellyanne Conway on her hiring, though! Let’s hope she makes the most of her two-week tour.

Read more Slate coverage of the 2016 campaign.