By all accounts – except the campaign camp’s – Rick Wiley, the national political director for Donald Trump, was fired after only six weeks on the job.
The campaign put out this statement, in response to the flurry of media coverage about the sudden departure of Wiley: “Rick Wiley was hired on a short-term basis as a consultant until the campaign was running full steam. It is now doing better than ever, we are leading in the polls and we have many exciting events ready to go, far ahead of schedule, while Hillary continues her long, boring quest against Bernie.”
Wiley didn’t speak publicly about his departure.
But according to various campaign sources speaking first to Politico, and then to other media outlets, Wiley had clashed with long-time Trump campaign insiders, like manager Corey Lewandowski and Karen Giorno, who heads up Southeast operations. And as such, another Trump new-hire, Republican strategist Paul Manafort, fired him.
Both Manafort and Wiley were part of Trump’s move to professionalize his campaign and hire, just a few weeks ago, those with backgrounds of politicking and contacts on the political inside.
Wiley, however, reportedly went a bit renegade on the campaign trail and as Politico reported: “[He] made appointments and had discussions with Florida Republicans and appeared to be building a new campaign from scratch, sources say. They say he refused, at times, to return Giorno’s calls or take them. Giorno then began calling other Trump campaign officials to ask them whether Wiley had it out for her or for everyone.”
Trump then reportedly called Giorno and asked her to explain, Politico said.
“Mr. Trump is loyal,” a source with knowledge of the phone conversation told Politico. “He believed her. … Rick picked a fight with the wrong person.”
Trump then reportedly told Wiley to avoid contact with Giorno. Shortly after, while plotting political strategies for Florida, Trump reportedly gave his OK for Manafort to let Wiley go, Politico reported.
A Trump source said to the news outlet: “Rick has RNC tattooed on his forehead. He’s not part of the Trump culture. Wiley was someone who didn’t understand what we were able to do and he wasn’t interested in being a part of the team in the end, anyway.”
CNN also reported Wiley’s sudden departure seemed more a firing than a planned strategy.
“There were no signs to suggest that Wiley had been hired on a temporary basis,” the media outlet said, adding two campaign sources claimed he was fired.
CNN also said just last week, Wiley had worked to fill state director slots in battleground states, with orders these new officials would report to him.