Donald Trump has 70 days to build a government and figure out how to run it, but some of his allies are spending the early days of his transition plotting revenge against those they believe slighted Trump — and them.
Since Trump’s shocking upset victory in Tuesday’s presidential election, several people who worked on his team have discussed ways to punish Republicans who were hostile to the New York billionaire’s anti-establishment campaign, including blocking them from administration or transition posts, or lucrative consulting work, according to a handful of people involved in the conversations.
They say that Republicans who opposed — or were seen as insufficiently supportive of — Trump have had their entreaties rejected by people around the president-elect, some of whom have expressed wonderment that former bitter critics are now asking for jobs, lobbying leads and even Inauguration tickets.
“My phone is ringing off the hook with people who were on the outs asking how they can get into Trump world,” said one operative who worked with Trump’s campaign. “I’m telling them there is no f—ing way they’re getting inside.”
Even before Trump shocked the political world on Tuesday, one leading Republican policy adviser recalled being told second-hand that he was “non grata” within Trump Tower for his outspoken criticism of the real estate showman-turned-candidate.
“It’s one thing not to have been for him or to have had a disagreement, but if you went out of your way to be an asshole, then we’re not going to be helpful,” the source said.
The source suggested that Trump’s political operation would steer business away from Republicans who were involved in the #NeverTrump effort to block Trump from the GOP nomination. Comparing one of the effort’s leading operatives to a Hollywood actor who threatened to leave the country if Trump was elected, the source said, “Katie Packer should see if Bryan Cranston has an extra room in Canada.”
Packer responded by cracking that she “fully expected to be rounded up and sent to a detention camp, so if that’s the best they’ve got, then that’s a relief!” More seriously, she suggested that “if Trump allows sentiments like that to go unchecked,” it will undermine his claim during his victory speech early Wednesday that he wants to unite the country after the divisive election.
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