Ben Carson has the ability to say everything he shouldn’t at exactly the wrong time.
Since the former neurosurgeon has taken up the role of working on Donald Trump’s vice presidential team, he has suggested that the candidate may pick a Democratic running mate, dropped she-who-must-not-be-named Sarah Palin as a potential pick and earlier generally questioned a number of the presumptive nominee’s habits from his Twitter use to lack of pragmatism.
So he was off the VP team in a hurry.
Last week, Armstrong Williams (his business manager and close confidant), told The Daily Beast that Carson left the team of his own volition. Carson had bigger and more important things to do, according to Williams, like preparing Trump for his meeting with Speaker of the House Paul Ryan.
But three sources close to the Trump campaign said Carson didn’t leave on his own. He was pushed.
According to sources close to Trump’s campaign, Carson was demoted after Trump specifically wanted him to head up the VP selection team. He submitted names that he thought would be valuable picks and inevitably lost his top spot days later. Carson allegedly called Trump afterwards and was angry that the situation played out like this.
In the absence of a person to head up the operation, embattled campaign manager Corey Lewandowski stepped in and took over the spot, as first reported by The Washington Post. The Daily Beast has confirmed that Lewandowski is still in charge of the process.
The list of names Carson later provided to The Washington Post—which included Palin, Marco Rubio, and John Kasich—was apparently just taken from various conversations within the campaign and is in no way confirmed. One source claimed that Carson mentioned the list in order to get retaliation for Lewandowski taking his position.
In a recent interview with The Daily Beast, Williams denied that there was any internal fracas.
“Well that’s part of what Lewandowski would want you to believe but there’s no truth to that,” Williams said of the takeover.
When asked about any possible rocky relationship with Barry Bennett, now a Trump adviser and Carson’s former campaign manager, Williams said there were no issues there either.
“Dr. Carson does not work for Barry Bennett,” Williams said. “He doesn’t talk to him.”
And Williams doesn’t either, not since December at least when Bennett exited the campaign after internal disagreements with the business manager who he claimed was causing issues with the struggling presidential bid.
Despite multiple people familiar with the matter confirming that a conversation took place to demote Carson, Williams asserted that the relationship between the real estate mogul and the doctor was going swimmingly.
“Dr. Carson and Mr. Trump have a wonderful understanding,” Williams said. “Sometimes I along with Trump’s top people are not always aware of what they are strategizing. [Carson] doesn’t always share with me. That’s a good thing.”
Williams has not always been an entirely reliable source of information about the goings-on inside the Trump campaign however. When he told The Daily Beast that Carson was off the VP team, a Trump campaign source told CNN that he had “fucked it up.”
Even though Lewandowski may have taken over for Carson, Williams asserted that there was no bad blood. At least as far as he knows.
“I don’t know why somebody would want to make it appear that there is some rift,” Williams said. “On Dr. Carson’s part, there is no rift. He continues to talk to Mr. Trump.”
Yup, everything is fine.