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The Trump Eras Tour

If there is any dysfunction within the Trump campaign, it’s remained largely private.
If there is any dysfunction within the Trump campaign, it’s remained largely private. Photo: Jabin Botsford/Getty Images
Tara Palmeri
October 12, 2023

Perhaps the defining feature of Trump’s 2016 campaign, and certainly the pre-Covid years of his presidency, was that he’d amassed a decidedly anti-Goodwinian team of rivals: various members of his inner circle all hated one another, leaked their grievances to the press, and ratted out their enemies to enterprising reporters around town. After the buttoned-up Obama years, Washington journalists were suddenly flooded by epic tales of backstabbing and political interventions and palace intrigues: Steve Bannon fighting Reince Priebus; the machinations of Ivanka and Jared; the shocking Oval Office clashes between the president and the dozens of top officials he hired and fired, often in humiliating fashion, and so forth. 

The daily IV drip from panicked West Wing insiders produced unprecedented volumes of adrenaline-spiking headlines, turning plugged-in reporters like Maggie Haberman, Jonathan Swan and Kaitlan Collins into veritable media celebrities and household names. And it turned cabinet secretaries and senior officials into stars recognizable by their first names only, like fashion designers or pop stars: Dina, Kellyanne, The Mooch