In further evidence of the fast-curdling relationship between Donald Trump and the establishment Republican Party, the dubiously-credentialed “economist” who serves as the presumptive GOP nominee’s chief policy advisor and campaign co-chair blasted Republicans critical of the former reality television star for “shooting their mouths off” and advised them to “shut the hell up.”
Sam Clovis, who has been with the Trump campaign since jumping ship from an advisory role with the now-defunct presidential campaign of former Texas governor Rick Perry, said in an appearance on CNN’s New Day on Thursday morning that the campaign’s relationship with the GOP establishment has, in effect, always been hostile.
“We've run against the establishment,” he told host Chris Cuomo. “We've had to fight the establishment, the establishment has come in and outspent us. The establishment has control of the media, a lot of these other issues and some of us have been successful, others not so much.”
He accused the Republican establishment of trying -- and failing -- to take control of the Trump campaign, and advised them to stop.
“Either they want to get behind the presumptive nominee who will be the nominee of this party and make sure that we do everything we can to win in November or we're just asking them if they can't do that, then just shut the hell up,” Clovis said. “That's what we're asking them to do.”
At a time when a presumptive nominee would normally be looking to bring the GOP together in advance of a November showdown with Hillary Clinton, Trump and his surrogates have evidently decided to attack the leadership of their own party.
“It's either the leadership that's wrong or we're wrong -- and it can't be both,” Clovis said. “And I think right now we're the ones that are winning. They're not.”
He continued, “They haven't done anything to stop the expansion of government. They haven't done anything to work toward the balancing of the budget. They have gutted the military and they've done nothing to protect the cultural values of this country. So I'm really tired of the Republican establishment coming out and shooting their mouths off and talking about how we need to comport with them. That's not the way this works. We're the people, we're going to win this election.”
Clovis’s comments came just a day after Trump voiced similar thoughts about the party members -- like House Speaker Paul Ryan -- who publicly disagreed with his renewed call for a ban on Muslims entering the country in the wake of Sunday’s massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando by a man claiming allegiance to the terror group ISIS.
“Our leaders have to get a lot tougher, and be quiet. Just please be quiet,” Trump said. “Don’t talk. Please, be quiet. Just be quiet -- to the leaders -- because they have to get tougher, they have to get sharper, they have to get smarter, and we have to have our Republicans either stick together or let me just do it by myself.”
In an article published late Thursday, Politico reported on rising tensions between Trump and the Republican National Committee. According to Politico, RNC chairman Reince Priebus is reportedly frustrated by Trump’s unwillingness to heed the advice of experienced political operatives; others in the organization are upset that Trump’s campaign is asserting control over many aspects of its campaign infrastructure without contributing much in the way of resources.
In a telling anecdote, one source told Politico that after promising to contact 20 or more top GOP donors identified by the RNC, Trump made three phone calls and then quit.