Maybe Newt Gingrich should have passed on that cruise with his wife in the Greek isles.
That trip, and differing thoughts on how the former House speaker’s presidential “grass- roots campaign” should proceed, resulted in most, if not all, of his senior campaign staff walking off the job Thursday afternoon.
His spokesman, Rick Tyler, told The Washington Post that the resignations had to do with a disagreement on the path of the campaign, and others alluded to the ill-timed vacation so early in the campaign. Tyler, Gingrich’s campaign manager Rob Johnson, other senior strategists and his staff in Iowa were said to be among those who quit.
Although it’s still early in the election cycle, the staffing turmoil does make for an uphill battle for a campaign that didn’t appear to have much traction to begin with. On his Facebook page, Gingrich said he is not giving up:
“I am committed to running the substantive, solutions-oriented campaign I set out to run earlier this spring,” Gingrich wrote. “The campaign begins anew Sunday in Los Angeles.”
The note, written Thursday afternoon drew hundreds of comments and “likes.” The comments, as in any political forum, boiled over and ranged from support to flat-out nastiness. One of the comments called him out for taking the cruise shortly after announcing his presidential campaign:
“Not sure how you think that strategy makes you a serious candidate, especially in a crowded, competitive field. Very disappointed. Time to pack it in before you make a bigger fool of yourself,” wrote Jim Tolve.
On the more positive side, Tammy McMahan posted:
“Newt 2012 Stay the course, a rough start often finishes in victory.”
Gingrich is scheduled to deliver a foreign policy speech Sunday night to the Republican Jewish Coalition at the Beverly Hills Hilton. The Los Angeles Times reported that on the RJC’s website, a note was posted saying that the deadline for ticket and sponsorship refunds had expired.
He is also scheduled to participate in a GOP primary debate in New Hampshire on Monday.
This staff revolt and the reaction to it on social media is reaffirmation that there’s not much “private time” – if any – for those in the spotlight. The news of the campaign implosion spread so fast, Gingrich may never recover.