Photo credit: Dave Davidson (

Photo credit: Dave Davidson (
Photo credit: Dave Davidson (

Like many Iowans I was surprised to learn that Sam Clovis joined Donald Trump’s campaign.  I was unsurprised to learn that someone leaked emails he sent on behalf of former Texas Governor Rick Perry’s campaign.  I’ve seen some rumblings on social media, but not much since I’ve been traveling today and getting ready to travel.

Some thoughts…

  • Sam Clovis is a friend, and I wish him the best (in that he performs his new role with excellence, not that Trump wins).
  • Full disclosure: I’m not a fan of Donald Trump… if you follow me on social media that shouldn’t be a surprise.
  • I have little respect for someone who leaks private emails, but I’m not surprised.  Politics breeds pettiness, and that was petty.
  • I like and respect State Senator Brad Zaun (R-Urbandale), Zaun is an Iowa co-chair for Scott Walker’s campaign.  In 2012 he was the co-chair for Michelle Bachmann’s campaign.  The other co-chair, Kent Sorenson, switched campaigns, he did it for money that was undisclosed and he was later indicted and faces jail time.  This is not that situation, and Zaun acknowledged the difference. We are several months out from the Iowa Caucus still.  Zaun said there is nothing illegal with switching campaigns for a bigger paycheck.
  • Also it is important to point out that Perry’s campaign is in reset mode… so how about a paycheck at all? Reports stated that he released his staff to find different work as many, at least at the time that news broke, were not getting paid.  Some make a living off of this.  Clovis has other means of making income, but when he ran for office that impacted his income.  I don’t know his financial situation and it’s none of my business. Don’t be surprised if someone who is paid staff leaves if they are not getting paid or the campaign is in sore shape.
  • Being paid staff is not the same giving an endorsement.  Unpaid endorsements don’t make that much difference to me, but they are far more credible than paid staff speaking in favor of a candidate regardless of who it is, regardless of who the candidate is.   Those who decide to work for campaigns to provide can rarely take a purist stance otherwise they would never have a job.  It could be that Clovis was looking and Trump is the only one hiring.
  • Donald Trump made a great hire in Clovis…. I also think he made a great hire with Chuck Laudner and Ryan Keller.
  • Clovis is in a position where he will have a greater impact on policy with the Trump campaign than he was set up to do with the Perry campaign.  Frankly since Trump is the frontrunner, I am glad that he has a guy like Clovis advising him.  Should Trump win the nomination would you rather he has a guy like Clovis advising him or not?
  • Clovis was forthright about the emails.  Trump apparently doesn’t care.  Perhaps Clovis was satisfied by the answers he received.  Perhaps he was just in an attack dog role for Perry when he sent the emails.  I don’t know, neither do you.

Anyway, Clovis has done much to advance the conservative cause.  People also seem to lose their collective mind this time of year and civility tends to go out the window.  Let’s just all agree that first and foremost Clovis needs to provide for his family.  If he can do that working for Trump with a clear conscience, more power to him.  I think Clovis can make Trump a better candidate.

Is this a decision I would make?  Nope, but I’m not in Sam’s shoes.  Honestly if a campaign approached me to work for them I’d consider it because I do communications and social media consulting.  If I thought it would be a good fit after talking with my wife and other clients I would probably do it.  I would be transparent about it here just like I was when I worked for the Iowa GOP.  (No I haven’t been approached and don’t anticipate it – just a reminder I don’t plan on making an endorsement that will be aligned with Caffeinated Thoughts’ endorsement until November).

Anyway, let’s cut Clovis some slack.  I think he’s earned it.

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