Donald Trump lavished fired campaign manager Corey Lewandowski with praise Monday night, but told Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly that the reshuffling signaled a shift in the campaign’s strategy.
“I think Corey’s terrific. I watched him before. He was terrific toward me. Said I was a talented person. And he’s a talented person,” Trump told O’Reilly Monday night on The O’Reilly Factor. “He’s a good guy. He’s a friend of mine. But I think it’s time now for a different kind of a campaign. We ran a small, beautiful, well-unified campaign. It worked very well in the primaries.”
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Trump also dismissed the notion that internal tensions in the campaign caused issues between Lewandowski and other staffers. Asked about his thoughts on office politics, Trump replied: “That’s part of the business.”
“Well it happens all over. You talk about office politics. It’s all over. And yes, I think it does happen here too. It happens everywhere,” the presumptive Republican nominee said.
The comments come of the heels of a contentious afternoon in the Trump camp which saw campaign adviser Michael Caputo resign after celebrating the Lewandowski firing on Facebook with a controversial post.
— Michael Caputo (@MichaelRCaputo) June 20, 2016
Trump’s statement on Fox News also served as his first comments on the matter since the firing, with the usually talkative Trump failing to comment on the decision on social media Monday.
During the interview, Trump also addressed speculation over when he’d make a selection on his running mate, telling O’Reilly that a decision would come at the Republican National Convention. The presumtive Republican nominee also praised Newt Gingrich, the former House Speaker, who has been tossed around as a potential pick for the vice presidency slot.
“He’s got good judgment. He’s a good guy. He’s been amazingly helpful,” Trump said of Gingrich. “I watch him on the different shows including yours, but I’m with him also. He’s got very great talent.”
Trump also discussed recent polls which show him trailing to presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton in a general election match-up, downplaying the results as being too early to forecast the outcome of the race.
“I think it’s very close. I think that probably one poll came out pretty much even,” he said. “I just don’t know. It’s fairly early to have polling. I think we haven’t even gotten started yet. You know I’m just literally just starting. And I view the convention as probably a real starting point. But I think it’s pretty even from what I’m seeing.