It was on Thursday [December 31, 2015], when most candidates were busy finalizing strategies entering the New Year and celebrating with hope for the future, that presidential candidate Ben Carson suffered some major political blows.

Amid internal power struggles, plummeting poll numbers, and some bad media coverage, the retired neurosurgeon’s high-ranking staffers, including his campaign manager Barry Bennett, and 20 others quit.

Barry Bennett told TIME that his departutre was, in part, due to differences he had with another adviser, Armstrong Williams.

“The straw that broke the camel’s back, per se, was the interviews that he [Carson] did on December 23 that Armstrong arranged that we didn’t know about, where he said that every job was on the table. I’m like, we have 150 staff people who all went home for Christmas thinking that their jobs were on the line, and that was stupid. First of all, that’s not a good press story. Two, we ruined everybody’s holiday.”

Bennett also says that the campaign communicatins director, Doug Watts, resigned due to differences with Williams.

Armstrong Williams, who has no official role or title in the campaign, responded when he told Reuters that both Bennett and Watts left the campaign to avoid being fired instead . “Right now, they’re upset and they need a scapegoat, and I’m the scapegoat.”

Carson’s campaign announced that retired Army major general Bob Dess would be the campaign chairman, while former senior strategist  Ed Brookover woud take over as campaign manager.

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