Some twenty of Ben Carson’s top aides resigned last Thursday, throwing Carson’s campaign into turmoil with less than a month before the Iowa Caucuses.
According to CNN, Carson’s campaign manager Berry Bennet, deputy campaign manager Lisa Coen, and communications director Doug Watts all resigned following speculation of a staff shake-up.
The Carson campaign has been dogged for months by internal conflict and rumors of personnel change. According to Reuters, Bennet said his resignation was due to differences with another top adviser to Carson, Armstrong Williams.
Bennet blamed Williams for an interview given by Carson to the Washington Post in which Carson spoke openly about the problems in his own campaign, as well as a number of articles detailing Carson’s weakness on foreign policy.
“It’s one of the stupidest things I’ve ever seen a candidate do,” Bennett said.
Williams has blamed Bennett as well as former communications director Doug Watts for not adequately preparing Carson for public appearances, and said that they chose to leave Carson’s campaign over being fired. Carson and Williams have both stated their belief that a change in campaign staff will reinvigorate the neurosurgeon’s campaign.
According to Politico, Robert Dees, a Carson foreign policy advisor and retired Army general, will now chair the campaign, filling another leadership role that’s been vacant for months. It is still unclear who will fill the newly vacated positions, but it is widely speculated that veteran campaign strategist Ed Brookover may fill the position of campaign manager.
Carson was in stiff competition with businessman Donald Trump for the position of GOP front runner in mid-October. Carson has since fallen to a distant fourth place behind Trump, Texas senator Ted Cruz, and Florida senator Marco Rubio in most national polls over concerns surrounding his lack of experience in foreign policy.
Williams stated his belief that Dees’ foreign policy and national security experience will be a vital asset to the Carson campaign and that his leadership will help to reinvigorate it.
If Dees does take over as chairman of Carson’s campaign, the decision may come with some degree of controversy.
In the former army general’s 2014 book, “Resilient Nations”, Dees argued that the greatest threat to the United States isn’t an external threat but rather the loss of the nation’s “spiritual infrastructure.”
In 2014 Dees also stated in an interview, “trying to appease the Muslim religion by saying that they are a peace-loving religion is problematic,” and that, “they need to demonstrate how their religion does not lead people to a final end state of violence and oppression.”
Despite sliding poll numbers and internal conflict, Carson’s campaign on Wednesday announced that it had raised an impressive $23 million in the fourth quarter of 2015. With the Iowa Caucuses only a month away, time alone will tell whether this staff-shake up will be a fresh start for the Carson campaign or the beginning of its end.
Cover Photo Credit: Marc Nozell/Flickr (CC By 2.0)