Earlier this year as it was becoming more apparent Trump could be the GOP nominee, conservatives were bristling and distrustful because of Trump’s lack of conservative bona fides in policy. For a man who claimed to surround himself with the best people, Trump had surrounded himself with a bunch of unknowns and people in Moscow’s pocket. So Trump set up a policy shop in D.C. He filled it with notable conservatives.
The act of doing so reassured conservatives. Some conservatives actually decided it was safe to head toward Trump, even though Cruz was still in the race. They did so largely because Trump appeared to be taking policy seriously and was hiring conservatives.
Turns out it was all just another Trumpian con job. Trump neither listened to his policy shop nor did he pay them. They’re mostly all quitting now and talking about what a disaster the whole thing was.
“It’s a complete disaster,” one disgruntled former adviser told me. “They use and abuse people. The policy office fell apart in August when the promised checks weren’t delivered.”
Three former members, all of whom quit in August, told me that as early as April they were promised financial compensation but were later told that they would have to work as volunteers. They say the leaders of the shop, Rick Dearborn and John Mashburn, told many staffers that money was on the way but then were unable to deliver. Dearborn is Sen. Jeff Sessions’s (R-Ala.) chief of staff, while Mashburn is the former chief of staff for Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C).