Friday, January 01, 2016

Ben Carson Aides Resign Over Conflict with Closeted Adviser

As noted in a prior post, the already troubled Ben Carson campaign is being wracked by rumors about Carson friend and non-titled adviser Armstrong Williams who has faced male-on-male sexual harassment allegations.  Now, campaign manager Barry Bennett and communications director Doug Watts have resigned due to apparent conflict with Williams, a long time Carson friend and confident.  Talking Points Memo looks at the development and one can only wonder when Carson opponents try to fan the flames over Williams.  Here are highlights:

Two top aides to Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson resigned from the campaign and predicted a wave of departures to come Thursday, casting the troubled campaign into uncertainty with just a month until the Iowa caucuses.

Campaign manager Barry Bennett and communications director Doug Watts resigned over conflict with Armstrong Williams, a Carson adviser the campaign has said has no official role, according to the Des Moines Register.

The Register later reported Deputy Campaign Manager Lisa Coen had also left the campaign.
Days before Christmas, Armstrong and Williams invited The Washington Post and Associated Press for a sit-down at the candidate's Maryland home about upcoming staffing changes to the campaign – without Bennett's knowledge, the Post reported.

"I spent the holidays hearing every day that I had lost my job,” Bennett told the Post in an interview Thursday. “My relationship with Carson was always good and friendly but being campaign manager in that kind of situation, where outside advisers are in essence driving the campaign and setting up interviews and raising questions about everything, it’s not the right atmosphere.”

Bennett said he thought airing the campaign's dirty laundry to the press was a "stupid move," one that Williams pushed for.

On Thursday, Williams told the Post he heard the news of Bennett and Watts' departures on Twitter.
"There’s enough pain today, enough feelings that have been damaged in some ways," Williams said. "I’m already being blamed, as I knew I would be, but I would never criticize Barry and Doug."

The Post's Robert Costa reported the campaign was in "chaos" over the news.

I have long viewed Carson as a whack job and we can only hope that this is the beginning of the end of his campaign.

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