Donald Trump has made up—for now—with David Bossie, his former top 2016 campaign aide who was exiled from Trumpworld following revelations of apparent financial self-dealing that misled the president’s supporters and donors.
Early last week, the president welcomed Bossie back into the White House for a private meeting, where Bossie pleaded his case directly to his former boss, a senior administration official and another source with knowledge of the conversation told The Daily Beast.
Trump, the sources noted, was receptive, and is cautiously reviving his relationship with Bossie, the Citizens United president and Fox News regular who until recently served as a prominent outside adviser and presidential confidant.
Neither Bossie nor the White House provided comment for this story.
For Bossie, it all nearly came crashing down in May, when a report in Axios revealed how his political group, the Presidential Coalition, had raised roughly $18.5 million since Trump’s first year in office—but had spent a mere $425,000 on actual political activity, a conspicuously small percentage for that kind of large organization. The Coalition spent more money than that simply on buying books, including pro-Trump ones written by Bossie himself. Some donors told Axios that they thought they were donating to Trump’s re-election effort when giving to Bossie’s group.
There are few slights that anger the president more than the perception that somebody is profiting off his name, especially if that money could have benefited his 2020 campaign or his personal business empire. Within hours of the Axios story publishing, the president instructed aides to punish and publicly lash out at his 2016 deputy campaign manager.
The news infuriated the president so much that, as The Daily Beast reported in early May, he directed his senior campaign staff to draft and release a statement rebuking Bossie. Though at least one earlier draft of the statement included Bossie’s name, the final draft—which was issued by the Trump campaign—shamed Bossie but did not name him.
Things got worse for Bossie in the weeks that followed. Not only was he for a time persona non grata in Trumpworld, but one of his employers, Fox News, kept him off the air for nearly three months. Three sources familiar with the situation said that the cable exile was executed by network brass in part to avoid infuriating the president, who watches Fox News and Fox Business.
The fall out between Trump and Bossie was all the more remarkable considering the role the latter played during the homestretch of the 2016 race against Hillary Clinton. Bossie, whom Trump once called “a friend of mine for many years,” was critical to Trump’s upset victory and was later given a slot on the presidential transition. But by then, he had made too many enemies in Trumpworld and among the Republican elite to land a top post in the administration or at the Republican National Committee.
As the friction between Trump and Bossie has lessened, Bossie has returned to both Fox networks, meeting and playing nice with the president. But even if Bossie has started to patch things up with Trump, it doesn’t seem that the Trump adviser is ready to forgive Axios for reporting on his shenanigans.
“Axios is working overtime to be the worst in the fake news business,” Bossie posted to Twitter last week, quote-tweeting Trump’s complaint about how the recent “story by Axios that President Trump wanted to blow up large hurricanes with nuclear weapons prior to reaching shore is ridiculous. I never said this. Just more FAKE NEWS!”
For what it’s worth, two sources familiar with President Trump’s comments confirmed Axios’ nuke-the-hurricanes reporting.