Ever since Iowa, Donald Trump has spent all of his time fighting the good fight on behalf of wronged victim Ben Carson. Trump says that he was robbed, too, of course, but his heart truly goes out to Carson. Why? Well, Carson’s team told CNN on Iowa caucus day that Carson was leaving the campaign trail to go to Florida, and that Carson would be skipping New Hampshire and South Carolina altogether. CNN’s Jake Tapper and Dana Bash had the following conversation:
Tapper: “It’s very unusual, to announce that you’re going home to rest for a few days, not going on to the next site.”
Bash: “Very unusual…Look, if you want to be president of the United States, you don’t go home to Florida. That’s just bottom line, that’s the end of the story. If you want to signal to your supporters that you’re hungry, that you want them to get out and campaign, you have to get out there too, it’s very unusual.”
Tapper: “Very unusual.”
Wolf Blitzer: “Very significant news indeed.”
CNN tweeted the news: “After the #IACaucus, @RealBenCarson plans to take a break from campaigning.”
The Cruz campaign seized on this news and began telling precinct captains to tell potential Carson voters that Carson was taking a break from campaigning, and so they might consider moving their votes over to Cruz. Cruz later apologized to Carson, but that wasn’t enough – Carson held an oddly-organized press conference in which he suggested that Cruz’s tactics weren’t Christian, and that Cruz ought to fire his campaign workers for their error. Trump, meanwhile, continued to claim that he had in fact won Iowa, but that Cruz cheated.
Well, now it turns out that both CNN and Cruz had it right.
Today, Carson announced that he wouldn’t be heading to New Hampshire until Saturday night, for the Republican debate. The Washington Post also announced that his campaign had chopped 50 staff positions as “part of an overhaul and downsizing of his entire campaign.” The Post continued:
Salaries are being significantly reduced. Carson’s traveling entourage will shrink to only a handful of advisers. And instead of flying on private jets, Carson may soon return to flying on commercial flights. The employees being released – about half of Carson’s campaign — mostly work in field operations and at his headquarters in Northern Virginia. Campaign officials, who confirmed the moves after The Washington Post obtained an internal memo about the layoffs, stressed that key aides in upcoming GOP primary contests will remain in place and that Carson is determined to stay in the 2016 race. But they acknowledged that Carson’s funds have diminished as he has fallen from the top tier, forcing him to make sweeping changes to a campaign that swelled into a bustling operation of about 125 people.
All of that followed on Carson’s campaign manager quitting at the beginning of January along with 20 other staffers.
This campaign is done, in other words.
And Carson kept all of this cutting secret, knowing he’d have to do it after Iowa. So who was the real fibber here? The Cruz campaign, which correctly forecast Carson’s drop out, or Carson’s campaign, which insisted that he wasn’t going anywhere, then proceeded to slash half its workforce and remove its candidate from the campaign trail?