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The Jeff Roe Monologues

Trump at a campaign rally. Photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Getty Images
Tina Nguyen
June 8, 2022

After seven years of chronicling the dramatic arc of Donald Trump’s political career, I can confidently say this: being Trump’s campaign manager is a cursed job. Every individual who has occupied that post—six people so far, across two election cycles—has inevitably met some disgraceful, highly-publicized end, no matter their background, ideology or talent. Corey Lewandowski clashed with Trump’s kids; Paul Manafort fraternized with the Russians; Steve Bannon’s ego threatened to eclipse Trump; Kellyanne Conway stepped down to focus on her family; Brad Parscale got shanked over budget issues and had a mental breakdown. Only Bill Stepien, a professional campaign operative, finished his term without incident and managed to slink back to his consulting shop without ever saying much about having lost the election or the stop-the-steal mayhem that followed.

This perilous state of nature has been fueled by Trump’s desire that underlings compete for his favor. But it is also a function of his narrow circle of trust—to get closer to the principal, someone else must be pushed out. It’s not surprising, then, that the chatter about Jeff Roe auditioning to manage Trump’s 2024 campaign is not sitting well with some incumbents among the Mar-a-Lago in-crowd. “Do you think Trumpworld’s gonna take it lying down as news story after news story comes out about how they’re going to have a new dad soon?” one Republican operative asked me rhetorically. “That he’s really excited to meet them and go to some ball games?”