Former Ben Carson Campaign Manager Gives an Inside Look at Campaign Dysfunction

Barry Bennett tells ABC that the staff changes were made in a scheduled call.

ByABC News
December 31, 2015, 2:31 PM

— -- After announcing his resignation from the Ben Carson campaign, former campaign manager Barry Bennett tells ABC News that the staff changes were revealed in a scheduled call this morning. The main change Carson wanted to make was with his Communications Director Doug Watts, Bennett says.

Bennett told the Republican presidential candidate on the call he would not support that decision and told Carson “it’s time for me to go.” Bennett said Carson was surprised and asked him to think about staying on as his campaign manager to which Bennett quickly told him no.

“[Carson] tried to blame some of the problems in the campaign on silly things and I said Ben we all know the root of our problems, let’s not pretend it’s not Armstrong Williams,” Bennett told ABC News on the phone. “Ben said I’ll talk to him, I’ll talk to him. But I’ve heard that for nine months now.”

Williams did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.

Bennett said he’s leaving the campaign with lots of money in the bank and still believes in Dr. Carson as a candidate.

“I don’t know who all will still be here, it’s not my problem” Bennett said. “I can play amateur politics at home with my 9-year-old I don’t need to do it at the professional level."

The campaign says that Armstrong Williams was “the factor” of the staff shake-up. Williams is Carson’s business manager and one of his closest advisers who has been with him long before he launched his campaign.

Throughout Carson’s campaign, conflicting messages have come from Armstrong and the campaign, and the campaign acknowledges that Armstrong created a huge problem. Campaign Manager Barry Bennett told ABC News on Dec. 11 that the relationship was “a disaster.”

“Instead of talking to voters, we deal with his internal advisers and do things that shoot us in the foot and we have the inability to get them to stop,” Bennett said today. “Doug bears most of the brunt from Armstrong. Armstrong would set up appointments behind Doug’s back and Doug became the target.”

Bennett says that foreign policy adviser Robert Dees will now be “running the show.” He believes his title will be campaign chairman.