Descending into the 2016 cycle
Several years later, when Mr. Trump was again considering a presidential run, he consulted Mr. Priebus for his guidance. As chairman of the national committee, Mr. Priebus had the bureaucracy of the Republican establishment backing him up and lessons from an autopsy of the 2012 campaign in his head.
On June 16, 2015, the first day of Mr. Trumpâs campaign, those lessons learned â that the party needed to persuade voters that Republicans were not narrow-minded and out of touch â were put in sharp contrast with Mr. Trumpâs own message.
âWhen Mexico sends its people, theyâre not sending their best,â Mr. Trump said, calling for the construction of a border wall. He added, âTheyâre sending people that have lots of problems and theyâre bringing those problems with us. Theyâre bringing drugs. Theyâre bringing crime. Theyâre rapists. And some, I assume, are good people.â
Months later, after speculation that Mr. Priebus had tried to lecture the then-candidate over his anti-immigrant rhetoric, Mr. Trump flatly denied that any such type of conversation had ever happened. Mr. Priebus, he said, âknows better than to lecture me.â
He added, âWeâre not dealing with a five-star Army general.â
Weathering the ups and downs of the campaign
As party chairman, Mr. Priebus was expected to be a strategist for the Republican presidential nominee. He rode many of the waves of a campaign…