Just two members of Republican South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott’s presidential campaign staff knew he planned to end his bid for the Republican nomination before he announced it on live TV this weekend, leaving others upset they didn’t know, according to a new report.
Nine of the now-former staff members “and other allies of Scott’s campaign” expressed umbrage at being caught by surprise when Scott announced Sunday on Fox News that he was suspending his campaign, Politico reported.
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The apparent consensus among those interviewed was that Scott’s exit strategy “was handled incredibly poorly,” as one person identified as a “Scott campaign official” told Politico, which also reported severe organizational deficiencies for the overall campaign.
At least one other person was a bit more forthcoming with their assessments and suggested Scott broke from the traditional way political candidates suspend their campaigns.
“I’ve seen better run city council campaigns,” quipped a GOP operative supporting Scott in the primary. “A lot of people were pissed last night. The right thing to do is give your staff 30 minutes of notice and have a conference call beforehand. It was typical of the whole effort.”
It was previously reported that Scott’s suspension of his presidential campaign came as a “surprise” to his campaign staff members, but the extent wasn’t clear until Politico’s report.
Less than 30 minutes before Scott announced he was ending his run, his campaign sent out a last-minute fundraising solicitation in apparent preparation for the Iowa Caucuses early next year. But to the staffers’ chagrin, minutes later they heard Scott say on live TV, “When I go back to Iowa it will not be as a presidential candidate.”
NBC News previously reported that “[m]ultiple Scott staffers” were given “no warning” and only learned about the news “by watching him say so on TV.”
Scott’s announcement to suspend his campaign came just days after he finally made good on his promise to reveal his long-spoken-about girlfriend. He posed with Mindy Noce, a design and renovation manager in Charleston, South Carolina, following a lackluster performance in the third Republican primary debate on Wednesday night.
Days later, amid steady low-polling, Scott’s campaign was officially a wrap.
In his announcement, though, Scott suggested to Fox News host and former South Carolina U.S. Rep. Trey Gowdy that he very well may run for president in the future.
“The voters, who are the most remarkable people on the planet … They’re telling me, ‘not now, Tim.’ I don’t think they’re saying, Trey, ‘no,’ but I do they’re saying, ‘not now.’”
Chances are that his now-former campaign staffers didn’t know about those plans either.
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