After being fired or leaving on their own accord, former officials and aides in the Trump administration are finding a new life as key figures on the campaign trail for candidates who need to run on one of the most important pillars of the Republican Party: loyalty to Donald J. Trump.
There is no small list of individuals who started with Trump either during his 2016 presidential campaign or in the early days of the new administration who are no longer working for the commander in chief.
Despite the internal turmoil, many are still on good terms with Trump and continue to push his message during their newfound freedom.
Former White House press secretary Sean Spicer plans to campaign for Republicans going into the November elections.
“There are a lot of candidates I can help rally the troops for,” Spicer told Business Insider, noting that he has already helped boost the Pennsylvania Republican Party.
Spicer has boosted a handful candidates and state-level GOP apparatuses. As a former communications director for the Republican National Committee, Spicer has a deep network of relationships in Republican operations across the US like California and elsewhere.
Anthony Scaramucci, who spent 10 whole days as White House communications director, has been bolstering former Rep. Michael Grimm in the felon’s attempt to regain his seat on New York’s Staten Island.
“This is a guy with a heart of gold and a backbone of steel,” Scaramucci said of Grimm, who in 2014 was convicted of felony tax evasion. “He can convince other people how important it is to stay on the same team.”
And while Trump endorsed incumbent Rep. Dan Donovan in a tweet last month, Grimm, with the help of Scaramucci, is playing up his allegiance to the president.
“They have the right president now,” Grimm said during a radio debate with Donovan on Monday. “After this election, they’re going to have the right congressman.”
A particularly unique case of a former Trump aide hitting the campaign trail is White House television pit bull Sebastian Gorka, who has accepted cash for joining far-right candidates as they vie for legitimacy in their respective districts.
So far in the 2018 election cycle, Gorka has received checks ranging from $2,500 to $5,240 for “speaking fees” from candidates he has endorsed. Gorka stumped for fringe Republicans such as Danny Tarkanian in Nevada, Kelli Ward in Arizona, and E.W. Jackson in Virginia.
Gorka dismissed the notion that he was selling endorsements on the side, telling the Washington Examiner that money received are honorariums.
Alongside Spicer, Gorka will campaign for Rep. Lee Zeldin in New York later this month for his “kickoff rally.”
But not the brains behind Trump’s election, Steve Bannon
Perhaps taking a break from elections is Steve Bannon, the former White House chief strategist and campaign chairman for the Trump 2016 effort. Bannon went all in on elevating and bolstering Roy Moore to fill the Alabama Senate seat left by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Moore turned out to be accused of child molestation and a heap of other misconduct issues, which ultimately resulted in his loss to Doug Jones, giving Alabama its first Democratic senator in a quarter century.
Despite his role in the Trump campaign, Bannon is now viewed by may Republican operatives as toxic and a producer of flawed, risky candidates. Those aligned with the establishment have always detested him, but reveled in his failure with the Moore campaign. Since then, Bannon has not been much of a factor for the 2018 campaigns.
Ultimately, swearing fealty to Trump remains a significant component for candidates and lawmakers in a bind. The loyalty to Trump is becoming so severe that retiring Sen. Bob Corker, a frequent critic of the president, likened the allegiances to that of a cult.
“It’s almost, it’s becoming a cultish thing, isn’t it?” Corker told NBC News. “It’s not a good place for any party to end up with a cult-like situation as it relates to a president that happens to be of, purportedly, of the same party.”