Tensions are growing between Donald Trump’s campaign and the Republican National Committee as the presumptive GOP nominee’s operation proves sluggish to adopt suggestions from party leaders, NBC News has learned.
Six sources -- granted anonymity in order to speak freely -- detailed to NBC News how trust between the two camps has steadily deteriorated as the Trump campaign seems to brush off RNC advice on personnel, messaging and what it will take to win a national election come November.
Behind the scenes, the RNC is struggling to get Trump’s team to staff up. Communication hires that were supposed to happen last week never materialized. Instead of matching the RNC’s ground game and firing power, Trump is focused on the same strategy he had during the primary -- dominate the news cycle and don't worry about details.
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Veteran campaign operatives have expressed dismay over the Trump campaign’s unwillingness to fill key roles and infighting between senior staffers.
“He fundamentally doesn’t believe he needs to campaign as usual,” one source said.
Another, echoing that sentiment, added that “things aren’t moving as quickly” as some would like to see. While, the party is usually embraced with open arms, this time it’s more of a side-eyed step by step build.
Also among the sources of frustration was the RNC’s decision to bring on GOP operative Rick Wiley after his short-lived stint with the Trump campaign. A source familiar with the decision told NBC News that some in Trump’s orbit “were clearly not happy” to see Wiley working for the RNC after he was dismissed as the campaign’s political director. However, according to the source, others in the “highest levels” of the campaign were disappointed to see Wiley go and prodded the RNC to bring him on.
Trump communications director Hope Hicks told NBC there is "no truth" to reports of tension. "The campaign has a great relationship with the RNC and we look forward to working together to defeat Hillary Clinton and the Democrats in November," Hicks said in a statement.
In light of all this, the RNC announced Ed Brookover would serve as a liaison between the campaign and party. Brookover will officially honcho fundraising, field operations, and victory programs.
There is hope that Brookover, who is well liked by both camps, will be able to keep communications running smoothly between both sides.
Brookover told NBC News, “I’m excited to be working with [RNC Chair Reince] Priebus as Republicans continue to unite behind Donald Trump’s campaign.”
Despite the drama, Trump and Priebus have been talking two to three times per day, according to a party source. And both sides believe the relationship will eventually get better.
The issues are “nothing that can’t be worked through,” the source said.