Washington (CNN)According to leaked emails reported by the Des Moines Register, the new national co-chair of Donald Trump's presidential campaign leveled harsh criticism at the GOP frontrunner just months ago while serving as the Iowa chairman for former Texas Gov. Rick Perry's own 2016 bid.
Report: New Trump aide blasted front-runner in emails
Iowan Sam Clovis was named national co-chair of the Trump campaign this week, just days after jumping ship from Perry's struggling team. Email correspondence provided to the Des Moines Register by Perry supporters, however, suggest that Clovis was not always much of a Trump fan.
Clovis explained his change of heart to the Register in an interview Wednesday, saying in the report that he had questioned Trump about a number of his previous concerns and that he "was satisfied with (Trump's) answers."
But, according the emails obtained by the Register, Clovis must have had many concerns.
As reported by the Register, the Iowan pol responded to an email on July 20th from a woman defending Trump's critical remarks about former POW and Arizona Sen. John McCain, saying "Mr. Trump's remarks were insulting to me as a veteran and as a person whose family sacrificed for 25 years." He added that the comments "were offensive and people responded accordingly."
In the same email, per the Register's report, Clovis attacked Trump for his inconsistent ideology, asking "Why should I not be suspicious of an individual who was pro-choice until he decided to run for president? Why should I not be suspicious of a person who advocates for universal healthcare?"
"Why should I not be suspicious," he charged, "of someone who cannot come to say that he believes in God, that he has never asked forgiveness and that communion is simply wine and a cracker?"
In another email reported by the Register, on July 22nd Clovis blasted a speech by Trump as a "barking carnival act that can be best described as Trumpism: a toxic mix of demagoguery and mean-spiritedness and nonsense that will lead the Republican Party to perdition if pursued." A third email detailed in the report shows Clovis praising his old boss, Rick Perry, for labeling Trump "a cancer on conservatism."
Clovis emphatically defended himself to the Iowa newspaper, saying that although he's a "hard sell," Trump convinced him to offer his support. He described his decision as courageous, contending to the Register that he "wouldn't be on this team if I didn't believe he was the right guy."
But interviews conducted by the Des Moines Register with Iowa Republicans reflect a healthy degree of skepticism regarding Clovis' move to the Trump campaign. State Senator Brad Zaun, speaking to the Register, said that Clovis "certainly risks his reputation when you do something drastic like that," adding "if he did take a load of money (to switch), I certainly thinks he risks losing credibility in the state of Iowa."