The string of bad news for Donald Trump's presidential campaign continued Monday, when Trump fired campaign manager Corey Lewandowski amid sagging poll numbers, rumors of growing tension between the Trump camp and the RNC, and anemic fundraising totals.
A presidential campaign dismissing its highest-ranking strategist just a month before its party's nominating convention isn't generally cause for celebration, but as Media Matters notes, the news of Lewandowski's ouster was met with enthusiasm by some conservative commentators, who hailed the decision as evidence that a new, more serious Trump campaign is nigh.
"I think this is a very good sign for the Trump team," said Fox contributor Tammy Bruce on Monday. "They’ve clearly taken the reigns here. They're adapting to the new general election dynamic, [...] a realization that they have to adapt before the convention."
The New York Post editorial board wrote the change in leadership suggests that Trump "is at last shifting to a real general-election campaign."
But one bellwether of mainstream conservative opinion, however, conspicuously declined to buy into the positive spin on Lewandowski's firing. The Wall Street Journal editorial board published a skeptical reaction on Monday, writing that "the shake-up will only make a difference if Mr. Trump recognizes how badly he is harming his own prospects."
"Perhaps the termination of Corey Lewandowski, heretofore Mr. Trump’s most loyal aide who was present at the campaign’s creation, is his concession that his operation is dysfunctional," the piece says. "He allowed competing power centers to emerge, with Mr. Lewandowski anchoring one camp and the veteran Beltway operative Paul Manafort the other."
But despite the campaign's troubles, the Journal's editorial board thinks it can still be salvaged : "Mr. Trump still has time to reverse his fortunes, even if the hour is late. If he wants to run a national campaign, he’ll allow Mr. Manafort to fill out his shoestring apparatus and put together a coherent hierarchy with delegated responsibilities and clear lines of accountability."
"But the hard reality is that the problems with the Trump campaign aren’t Mr. Lewandowski’s fault," the editorial continues. "They are Donald J. Trump’s. If he wants to avoid a historic loss like 1984 or 1972 that costs the GOP its House and Senate majorities, he’ll take more instruction from political professionals."
"If he doesn’t," the piece warns, "don’t be surprised if unbinding the GOP delegates to choose another nominee at the July convention starts to seem like an urgent and attractive option to a growing number of Republicans."