Let’s run down the list of good things about working for the presidential campaign of current Republican frontrunner Donald Trump:
- A sense of accomplishment (pending)
- A sense of civic duty
- A moderate salary
- Getting to meet Donald Trump...?
Okay that’s all I have. One thing that’s not on this list is “laying the groundwork for a thriving career in Republican politics,” because, as The Politico reported yesterday, there is a growing sense in the Republican solar system that Trump aides will be blackballed by the establishment once the Trump cloud passes over and the party is able to reset itself:
But according to interviews with more than a dozen operatives — including several who oppose Trump, some who support him and the leaders of some prominent D.C. political shops — some of those who go to work for Trump face an implicit, and occasionally overt, threat: Help Trump, and you’ll never work in this town again.
It may be unenforceable, but the push to stigmatize Trump’s aides, advisers and vendors is among the last remaining pieces of ammunition available to a Republican establishment that has tried just about everything else to block the billionaire from taking over of the GOP. And, critically, it has complicated Trump’s efforts in recent weeks to hire top-tier operatives, according to sources familiar with Trump’s campaign.
As The Politico notes, this is probably a last-ditch tactic by anti-Trump Republicans to deprive the Trump campaign of the party’s most available, if not exactly its best, minds. A few even went on the record:
Juleanna Glover, a longtime GOP operative who is now a corporate consultant in D.C., said of people choosing to work for Trump: “In the world Fortune 100 companies, their careers would be severely curtailed.”
Katie Packer, who served as Mitt Romney’s deputy campaign manager and now runs an anti-Trump super PAC, said: “I know that I would never hire or want to work with somebody who tried to help Trump. It would be disqualifying.”
Alas, much like the anti-Trump movement in general, this feels like wishful thinking. Perhaps there are some operatives out there who are resisting Trump in hopes that a candidate they find more palatable somehow ends up with the nomination. But if Trump is the nominee, the consultant class will do what the consultant class does, which is line up to the trough.
This is already happening. In late March, the campaign hired convention manager Paul Manafort, who has worked for Reagan, both George Bushes, and John McCain. Last week, they hired Rick Wiley—formerly of Scott Walker, Rudy Giuliani, and the RNC—as national political director.
They won’t be the last. Republicans will fall in line.