Amid the biggest policy showdown of Donald Trump’s presidency, top White House aides are perplexed that an outside group created to boost him at such critical junctions was missing in action.
The pro-Trump nonprofit, America First Policies, has been gripped by its own internal headaches as two of the six announced members of its leadership team have left in recent days, according to two officials involved with the group.
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Rick Gates, who worked as a deputy to former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, departed following an Associated Press report this week that Manafort once worked to secretly “greatly benefit the Putin government.” Gates had been increasingly active running the group day to day until his sudden departure. And David Bossie, who served as Trump’s deputy campaign manager, no longer has ties to the nonprofit after POLITICO reported earlier this month that he was in talks with donors about launching a competing group.
“America First [Policies] has turned into an embarrassment,” one senior White House official complained as the vote loomed, calling the group “rudderless.”
With the health care law hanging in the balance, there were no TV ads, no brushbacks of wayward GOP lawmakers and no pointed reminders in key districts that every…