On the surface, Donald Trump appears to already have a successful political operation in place. The former president has raised outlandish sums of money since his defeat last fall, and common sense suggests the Republican and his team would keep the machine churning, as is, so long as the cash keeps rolling in.
It's why it came as something of a surprise yesterday afternoon when the public was alerted to the creation of a new Trump-approved super PAC. The press statement read:
"Make America Great Again, Again! (MAGA, Again!) announced the formation of the ONLY Trump approved Super PAC, replacing Make America Great Again Action. MAGA Again! will be led by Chairman Pam Bondi, a longtime supporter of President Donald J., Trump and the former Attorney General of Florida. She will be joined by National Finance Chair Kimberly Guilfoyle."
Bondi, of course, was at the center of a rather serious controversy several years ago — her Florida office ended its scrutiny of Trump's so-called "university" after his charitable foundation made an illegal donation to a group supporting Bondi's campaign — while Guilfoyle is dating one of the former president's adult sons.
Not surprisingly, the name of the outfit sparked plenty of derision. "MAGA Again!" — the exclamation point was included several times in yesterday's press statement — has a certain child-like quality, but it's difficult to take seriously.
Indeed, it was several years ago when Trump's retrospective phrase became a signature acronym for the Republican and his followers. It was, obviously, pronounced "maga." Presumably, as the former president eyes yet another national candidacy, the new acronym will sound a bit more ridiculous, with an extended and exaggerated "ahh" at the end.
But while the name generates mockery, the new announcement sparked a related question: Why would Trump's political operation need a new super PAC at all? The New York Times reported on the apparent answer:
Allies of former President Donald J. Trump formed a new super PAC days after Corey Lewandowski, Mr. Trump's former campaign manager and the leader of one of the largest pro-Trump super PACs, was accused of sexual misconduct. The move, an attempt to isolate Mr. Lewandowski and deny him a role in Mr. Trump's political operation, creates a new outside group to support the former president as he considers whether to run again in 2024.
According to the Times' reporting, after Lewandowski was accused of sexual misconduct, Trump's team announced that Lewandowski, the original campaign manager of Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, would no longer oversee the Make America Great Again Action super PAC.
The Times' Maggie Haberman added that Trump's team intends to transfer the funds from the old super PAC to the new one, "though it's not immediately clear what the bylaws say about who has control over the money and transfers, or what other measures they might have available to allow the money to be sent to a new entity if one of two board members is resisting."
Before arriving in the White House, Trump's team was defined by internal divisions, ugly fights, and distracting dysfunction. That continued throughout the Republican's troubled presidency, and it appears the dynamic still continues unchanged.