The emails have been notable for their tone. In one, Club for Growth president Chris Chocola calls Trump a “socialist” and says of his nascent campaign, “This publicity stunt will sputter and disappear just as quickly as the ‘The Apprentice’ is losing viewers;” the other dredges up an incident from 14 years ago when Trump used eminent domain to try to expand his casino empire in New Jersey.
More surprisingly, the emails come as most Republicans have held their fire aginst Trump, hoping that he hangs himself with his own verbal rope or eventually gives up on what still looks to many like a novelty act.
But there could be a reason behind the Club’s apparent willingness to hit Trump first and hard: the Club for Growth’s longtime top consultant, Jon Lerner, was recently hired by Tim Pawlenty to be his top pollster.
Lerner has been a leader in some of the political strategizing behind the low-tax advocating Tea Party movement, and according to this interview, gave up political work in order to continue to advocate for lower taxes. His hiring by Pawlenty was hailed in Republican circles, but Pawlenty has struggled to gain traction in the early polls, and the rise of Trump is soaking up media attention that “serious” candidates, like the former Minnesota governor, desperately need.