Trump National Political Director Rick Wiley is no longer with the team, the campaign confirmed in a statement late Wednesday night. When asked if WIley resigned or was fired, spokeswoman Hope Hicks said that the “statement stands alone.”A Trump campaign source with knowledge of the decision tells NBC News that Wiley was largely uncommunicative with field staff that were in place long before he was hired. “He never really got the read for this campaign,” the source said, referencing the campaign’s culture.
The same source added that Wiley treated some staffers hired by Trump Campaign Manager Corey Lewandowski as if they were “the B-team.”
Wiley was brought on officially in early April by Campaign Chairman and Chief strategist Paul Manafort, a high profile example of the campaign’s shifting power dynamics at the time and filling the gap left by recently resigned operative Stuart Jolly. When announcing the hire of Wiley, the campaign touted him as the man who would replace Jolly, who was the National Field Director, by heading statewide field operations. Wiley’s installation was seen by campaign insiders as a signal that Trump’s inner orbit was shifting power toward Manafort and away from Lewandowski.
Wednesday however, after the press release was emailed out, a source close to the campaign told NBC News that the announcement, while a surprise, was a victory for Lewandowski. “I’ll tell you one thing: it’s a win for Corey,” the source said.
The e-mailed press release stated that Wiley was hired on as a consultant on a “short term basis” and the campaign thanked him for his service. But in the email that announced his hire just six weeks earlier the language signaled no short term agreement or timeline for Wiley’s employment. Trump lauded Wiley then as “a seasoned political expert with a very successful career in winning elections” who would be “a tremendous asset as we enter the final phase of securing the nomination.”
According to a senior Republican strategist, Wiley’s departure complicates things within the campaign’s operations with the RNC, as he was a daily figure at RNC HQ and was heavily involved in joint campaign strategy due to his background there.
This background, a campaign source says, is part of what caused the “cultural differences” between the Trump campaign and Wiley.
Wiley was the former campaign manager for the failed Scott Walker campaign.