All in the (Trump) Family?

Looking through some recent internal leaks about chaos in the Trump campaign a couple of things jumped out – besides, that is, that campaigns with falling poll numbers always seem to sprout a lot of leaks about unhappy staff people.

One is that his family members do seem to be the de facto campaign managers.

Two is that for someone who projects so much confidence, Trump apparently is not comfortable unless his hand is always being held while he is out on the campaign hustings.  Lewandowski always traveled with him, probably for that reason.  But when the campaign attempted to use Lewandowski solely in that role, it didn't work, because he kept undermining the overall direction of the campaign under Manafort.  I had a boss like that once.  He appeared confident to the point of arrogance.  But I was working late one evening when he came into my office, pulled up a chair, and plopped the file he was reviewing onto my side table.  He was over 50 years old and could not stand being alone in his own office only 50 or 60 feet away from the closest human being.  He had to be with another person at all times.

Three is that Trump's family members may not have committed the amount of time to the campaign that is needed.  They are young parents and have interests outside politics. 

Four is that politics appears to be bad for business.  Traffic at Trump-owned or licensed properties has fallen since he became a presidential candidate.  This has to be a topic of concern among family members and could be another drain on their time. 

Again, if he weren't such a sleazebucket, I'd almost feel sorry for Paul Manafort.  Did he anticipate what it would be like to attempt to manage a presidential campaign in the middle of a reality TV show about a family business?

Stock up the popcorn. One consistent feature of members of the Washington, D.C.-based political consultancy class is that failure is never their fault.  The fault always lies with their clients for not following advice.  That is why there are always leaks to the press when the poll numbers start going the wrong way.  Nor does the candidate seem temperamentally capable of admitting to mistakes.  So who in the campaign operation will have to be the scapegoat?   

Key media excerpts below.

From CNBC.  Politics seems to have hurt Trump business interests.  See chart here.

It turns out the data is fairly clear: Since Donald Trump announced his candidacy in June 2015, foot traffic to Trump-branded hotels, casinos and golf courses in the U.S. has been down. Since spring, it's fallen more. In July, Trump properties' share of visits fell 14% year over year, for instance.

There has been an interesting arc over the last year. Before Trump announced his presidential bid, foot traffic to his properties was steady year-over-year  —  and maybe even saw a small uptick. After he entered the race, his branded properties failed to get their usual summertime traffic gains. In August 2015, the share of people coming to all Trump-branded properties was down 17% from the year before.

These losses stabilized to single digits for a number of months, but as primary voting season hit full swing in March 2016, share losses grew again. Trump properties did not get their usual springtime bounce of travelers and locals. March share was down 17% once more.

From US News and World Reports

Trump was alarmed by a call he received last week from a senior adviser who is not campaign chairman Paul Manafort or Manafort assistant Rick Gates, according to an account provided to U.S. News. The caller lamented the campaign's lack of state-by-state organization and warned the nominee, "You're not going to win."

The candidate, not surprisingly, hit the roof. But the person who followed up with the adviser on the disturbing message wasn't Manafort or Gates, according to the source. It was Jared Kushner, the influential son-in-law who is married to Ivanka Trump and who is held in high regard by her father.

"Are the kids running the campaign? Anecdotally, from everything I've heard and seen, yes – at least in tandem with Paul and Rick," the staffer says.

Thr above was followed a few paragraphs later by this.

The Republican operative familiar with the Trump operation tells U.S. News that Trump has increasingly been back in regular contact with his former campaign manager turned CNN commentator, Corey Lewandowski.

Lewandowski was ousted in June at the behest of Trump's children, who viewed him as lacking the sophisticated judgment needed to assist their wayward father. A major difference between the reigns of Lewandowski and Manafort is that Lewandowski traveled constantly with Trump, earning his trust and bending his ear. Manafort rarely hits the road and has followed a more typical template by holing up in an office with a phone to his ear and his fingers on a keyboard.

Then there is a similar report from the Associated Press.

The internal tension is complicated by Trump's frequent travels without his senior advisers and his adult children, who wield significant influence in the campaign, the people close to the campaign said.

There's been no follow-through on a plan presented earlier this summer to have one of the children or son-in-law Jared Kushner travel with Trump most of the time.

While the children have made some appearances with their father — for instance, Eric Trump attended Tuesday's rally in Virginia — work obligations and other commitments, including a hunting trip the sons have lined up, have posed scheduling conflicts.

Looking through some recent internal leaks about chaos in the Trump campaign a couple of things jumped out – besides, that is, that campaigns with falling poll numbers always seem to sprout a lot of leaks about unhappy staff people.

One is that his family members do seem to be the de facto campaign managers.

Two is that for someone who projects so much confidence, Trump apparently is not comfortable unless his hand is always being held while he is out on the campaign hustings.  Lewandowski always traveled with him, probably for that reason.  But when the campaign attempted to use Lewandowski solely in that role, it didn't work, because he kept undermining the overall direction of the campaign under Manafort.  I had a boss like that once.  He appeared confident to the point of arrogance.  But I was working late one evening when he came into my office, pulled up a chair, and plopped the file he was reviewing onto my side table.  He was over 50 years old and could not stand being alone in his own office only 50 or 60 feet away from the closest human being.  He had to be with another person at all times.

Three is that Trump's family members may not have committed the amount of time to the campaign that is needed.  They are young parents and have interests outside politics. 

Four is that politics appears to be bad for business.  Traffic at Trump-owned or licensed properties has fallen since he became a presidential candidate.  This has to be a topic of concern among family members and could be another drain on their time. 

Again, if he weren't such a sleazebucket, I'd almost feel sorry for Paul Manafort.  Did he anticipate what it would be like to attempt to manage a presidential campaign in the middle of a reality TV show about a family business?

Stock up the popcorn. One consistent feature of members of the Washington, D.C.-based political consultancy class is that failure is never their fault.  The fault always lies with their clients for not following advice.  That is why there are always leaks to the press when the poll numbers start going the wrong way.  Nor does the candidate seem temperamentally capable of admitting to mistakes.  So who in the campaign operation will have to be the scapegoat?   

Key media excerpts below.

From CNBC.  Politics seems to have hurt Trump business interests.  See chart here.

It turns out the data is fairly clear: Since Donald Trump announced his candidacy in June 2015, foot traffic to Trump-branded hotels, casinos and golf courses in the U.S. has been down. Since spring, it's fallen more. In July, Trump properties' share of visits fell 14% year over year, for instance.

There has been an interesting arc over the last year. Before Trump announced his presidential bid, foot traffic to his properties was steady year-over-year  —  and maybe even saw a small uptick. After he entered the race, his branded properties failed to get their usual summertime traffic gains. In August 2015, the share of people coming to all Trump-branded properties was down 17% from the year before.

These losses stabilized to single digits for a number of months, but as primary voting season hit full swing in March 2016, share losses grew again. Trump properties did not get their usual springtime bounce of travelers and locals. March share was down 17% once more.

From US News and World Reports

Trump was alarmed by a call he received last week from a senior adviser who is not campaign chairman Paul Manafort or Manafort assistant Rick Gates, according to an account provided to U.S. News. The caller lamented the campaign's lack of state-by-state organization and warned the nominee, "You're not going to win."

The candidate, not surprisingly, hit the roof. But the person who followed up with the adviser on the disturbing message wasn't Manafort or Gates, according to the source. It was Jared Kushner, the influential son-in-law who is married to Ivanka Trump and who is held in high regard by her father.

"Are the kids running the campaign? Anecdotally, from everything I've heard and seen, yes – at least in tandem with Paul and Rick," the staffer says.

Thr above was followed a few paragraphs later by this.

The Republican operative familiar with the Trump operation tells U.S. News that Trump has increasingly been back in regular contact with his former campaign manager turned CNN commentator, Corey Lewandowski.

Lewandowski was ousted in June at the behest of Trump's children, who viewed him as lacking the sophisticated judgment needed to assist their wayward father. A major difference between the reigns of Lewandowski and Manafort is that Lewandowski traveled constantly with Trump, earning his trust and bending his ear. Manafort rarely hits the road and has followed a more typical template by holing up in an office with a phone to his ear and his fingers on a keyboard.

Then there is a similar report from the Associated Press.

The internal tension is complicated by Trump's frequent travels without his senior advisers and his adult children, who wield significant influence in the campaign, the people close to the campaign said.

There's been no follow-through on a plan presented earlier this summer to have one of the children or son-in-law Jared Kushner travel with Trump most of the time.

While the children have made some appearances with their father — for instance, Eric Trump attended Tuesday's rally in Virginia — work obligations and other commitments, including a hunting trip the sons have lined up, have posed scheduling conflicts.