When Ben Carson appeared on CNN Wednesday night to defend his campaign’s management, he praised his staffers’ ability to shape him into a candidate. But his campaign still requires a boost after being rattled by dysfunction within.
“I would wonder who else could get someone who is an outsider, who has no organization, to this point, this quickly,” Carson told Don Lemon, who’d asked him about reports suggesting Carson planned to shake up his staff.
If Carson is suggesting his staff has crafted a true presidential campaign—one that helps control its candidate’s message and trains him on major issues, with the White House in its sight—he’s kidding himself.
Presidential campaigns require discipline and structure, and any public displays of infighting and mismanagement should be avoided. But Carson’s camp has had a tough time reining in news of its instability.
That was no more obvious than on Wednesday, when Carson told reporters from both The Washington Post and the Associated Press that he was dissatisfied with the management of his campaign, and that “everything”—including staffers’ jobs—“is on the table.” He’d apparently done so without tipping off his top staffers that he planned on talking to the press. But by the afternoon, Carson had had a change of heart: He was 100 percent confident in the team, he said in a statement, and he told Lemon that the Post had peddled in untruths. Though “we’re always going to be evaluating how people are performing,” he said, any suggestion of a planned staff “shakeup” was incorrect.