Carson's former campaign manager advising Trump

Carson's ex-campaign manager: Trump will be GOP nominee
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Carson's ex-campaign manager: Trump will be GOP nominee 01:27

Story highlights

  • Barry Bennett, who resigned from the Carson campaign late last month, is now advising Trump's top aides in a "volunteer" capacity
  • Bennett said he approached the Trump campaign to talk about things to keep in mind once Trump becomes the nominee

(CNN)Ben Carson's former campaign manager is now informally advising Donald Trump's presidential campaign, according to Trump's campaign manager.

Barry Bennett, who resigned from the Carson campaign late last month, is now advising Trump's top aides in a "volunteer" capacity, campaign manager Corey Lewandowski confirmed. Bennett also confirmed the development to CNN, characterizing his role in an email as "unpaid and informal."
Bennett said he approached the Trump campaign to talk about things to keep in mind once Trump becomes the nominee -- such as the convention, raising money to pay for the convention, managing delegates, rules and floor fights, and dealing with the party apparatus.
"Your reward is a whole new set of problems" once you win the nomination, Bennett said. "There's no day to rest."
He said over the past few weeks he has become increasingly convinced Trump will be the nominee. "If he wins Iowa, I think he runs the board."
"The establishment can bitch about it or we can start to work together" to defeat Hillary Clinton, he said of Trump's momentum.
Bennett was careful to insist he's not bringing anything to the table that the Trump campaign doesn't already have. But he can provide some guidance to help tackle upcoming obstacles.
"What I offer, mainly, is I'm not neck deep in the primary process," he said.
Bennett met with Trump's top campaign officials at Trump Tower last week, the Washington Post first reported on Friday.
Bennett has not shied away from the spotlight since leaving Carson's campaign amid a staff shakeup, instead appearing often on television news programs to offer his assessment of the 2016 race, including predicting that Trump will win the Republican presidential nomination.
Unless something "cataclysmic" happens, Trump will be the GOP nominee, Bennett predicted on CNN's "This Hour" earlier this month, days after resigning from the Carson campaign.
"Donald Trump is having 10,000, 12,000 people show up at rallies. A lot of these guys are having five or six people show up at their events in Iowa. There's just not a comparison," he said. "You know, the establishment can fret about it all they want, but this is the new reality."

Top Carson adviser rips Bennett

The news seemed to partly validate the views of Carson's close adviser, Armstrong Williams, who is technically unaffiliated with the campaign but has been kept close by the candidate.
In response to criticisms over his role from Bennett and former Carson spokesman Doug Watts, Williams Friday morning accused the pair of being too close to the Trump campaign.
"The unmitigated gall of Barry Bennett and Doug Watts: To attempt to curry favor with the Trump campaign by delivering Dr. Carson's campaign infrastructure on a platter is nothing short of amazing," Williams wrote in a Facebook post.
Watts and Bennett spoke about Williams' role in the campaign during a tell-all lecture in Washington on Wednesday.
"Watts and Bennett did a great service is helping to guide his campaign -- a service for which they were amply compensated," Williams wrote. "But they do an equally great disservice by holding lectures, going in front of the media and betraying Carson in an attempt to curry favor with Trump."
Williams also suggested that Bennett was involved with the Trump campaign in a Thursday interview with Politico.
"What some of us have concluded -- and we could be wrong -- is that either Barry is being paid by the Trump campaign, or he's trying to get a job with the Trump campaign," he said.