The Washington Post
Easy come, easy go: Amid turmoil, two more staffers exit Trump’s camp
DENVER — Donald Trump’s campaign is in a tumultuous state, with at least two staffers resigning this week and joining a growing list of personnel who have parted ways with the campaign in recent months.
Kevin Kellems, who was recently brought on to be the director of surrogates on Trump’s campaign, announced his resignation in a short email to associates obtained Friday by The Washington Post. Erica Freeman, another aide who worked with surrogates, also resigned, a person familiar with her decision said.
At the same time, Trump continues to add staff for the general election. He announced Friday that he has hired veteran Republican strategist Kellyanne Conway, who joins the team fresh off a stretch working for a super PAC that supported Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) and was highly critical of Trump. The campaign also promoted Karen Giorno to senior political adviser.
The moves will add two experienced women to a senior team that has been predominantly male.
But even as Trump continues to staff up, many of his aides have left as part of ongoing turmoil in the team’s ranks.
Vincent Harris, a strategist whom the campaign recently enlisted to help with its digital efforts, is no longer associated with the campaign, Harris said this week.
Last week, Trump fired longtime campaign manager Corey Lewandowski after months of his clashing with other staffers and concerns from Trump’s children that Lewandowski was not up to the job.
And in late May, Trump ousted Rick Wiley, an experienced GOP operative who, like Lewandowski, clashed with others on the team.
“While brief, it has been an interesting experience, and am proud of the contributions made through our early-phase project endeavors,” Kellems wrote in the email announcing his departure. “Also have enjoyed meeting some fine and dedicated individuals throughout the organization. Look forward to running across several of you going forward.”
The staff turmoil is part of broader difficulties within Trump’s unconventional campaign, which had only $1.3 million in the bank at the start of June and is spending no money on advertising to counter a multimillion-dollar assault by Hillary Clinton. The presumptive Democratic nominee announced Friday that she raised $68 million in June; the Trump campaign has not disclosed its June fundraising number, which is expected to be much lower than that.
Trump did not mention his personnel moves in a speech here in Denver on Friday at the Western Conservative Summit. In the address, he suggested that former president Bill Clinton’s impromptu meeting with Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch at a Phoenix airport did not happen by chance.
At the top of his speech, Trump brought up his experience during the GOP nominating contest in Colorado, when Cruz outmaneuvered him in the arcane process of securing delegates. Trump, seemingly unable to put the incident behind him, said once again that the system was “rigged.”
Trump also offered a preview of this month’s Republican National Convention in Cleveland, saying that his wife, Melania, and his children will be speaking there.
Outside the convention center where Trump spoke, some protesters gathered on one corner. After Trump was done speaking, his supporters held a rally on the steps of the state capitol.
Conway, who previously headed up Keep the Promise I, a pro-Cruz super PAC that ran ads hitting Trump, will be a senior adviser to campaign chairman Paul Manafort and part of the national polling team that is headed up by Tony Fabrizio, the campaign said in a statement.
Giorno’s new portfolio will “include developing and executing the general-election strategy for Florida, and working with the national political director,” the campaign said. Previously, she was overseeing 10 Southeastern states for Trump.