Marco Rubio’s chief of staff has been fired after being accused of “improper conduct” involving “subordinates.” In a statement just before midnight on January 27, Rubio’s office announced that Clint Reed had been terminated from the Florida senator’s staff. A press release said that Rubio had found “improper conduct” along with “sufficient evidence to conclude that while employed by this office, my Chief of Staff had violated office policies regarding proper relations between a supervisor and their subordinates.”
Reed began working as Rubio’s chief of staff in December 2016 after serving as the Florida Republican’s senatorial reelection campaign manager. The Arkansas native also served on Rubio’s ill-fated presidential campaign, directing operations in Iowa, South Carolina and Florida.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Reed Has a Long History With the GOP, Managing Bush’s Arkansas Operation in 2004
Reed’s political history with the Republican party is detailed on his LinkedIn page. In 2004, Reed says that he was in charge of the grassroots operation for George W. Bush and Dick Cheney’s successful presidential reelection campaign. After that, Reed was the regional political director in Texas for the Republican National Committee. Reed also credits himself with involvement in the reelection of Georgia Senator Saxby Chambliss.
Reed says that in 2011 he was picked by Talk Business and Politics as one of the “Young Guns” in Arkansas’ business and politics world.
2. Rubio Previously Called Reed ‘Phenomenal’ & a ‘First-Rate Manager’
A statement on Rubio’s website in December 2016 announced Reed’s hiring. The senator wrote, “For over a year, I’ve gotten to know and work closely with Clint on my campaigns, including two in Florida. He’s a superb manager who loves Florida, has earned my trust, and relishes the challenge of solving tough problems.”
Prior to being hired by Rubio, Reed was working for Impact Management Group, a political consulting firm out of Little Rock, Arkansas. The company’s managing partner, Terry Benham, told the Arkansas Times in December 2016, “Clint is one of the most talented political operatives in America.”
In an interview, Rubio said that Reed was “phenomenal” and “a first-rate manager.” The senator continued, “I’ve worked with Clint now for a year and a half and I’ve put him in multiple difficult situations, and everywhere we’ve worked with him, he’s done a great job, so we felt he had the right attributes for what we’re looking to do here over the next six years.” In the same piece, U.S. Senator John Boozman was similarly glowing about Reed saying, “He’s a good friend, so I’m excited about him being here. … It’s always good to have an Arkansan in a position of authority.”
3. Reed Is in His College’s Basketball Hall of Fame
Reed graduated from Lyon College in Batesville, Arkansas, in 1999 with a degree in History and Politics. The former chief of staff also studied at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock, according to his LinkedIn page. When announcing Reed’s hiring, Rubio noted that Reed was inducted into the Lyon College basketball hall of fame. Reed was inducted in November 2016. In addition, Reed was First Team All-TranSouth Conference in 1998 and 1999.
4. His Grandfather Taught Future President Bill Clinton in Junior High
Reed’s grandfather was Dr. Stanley Reed. According to his obituary, Dr. Reed taught future president Bill Clinton in junior high school in Hot Springs, Arkansas. An Arkansas Business profile of Clint Reed emphasizes the role of family in his life saying that Reed set up his political consultancy office in his home state to be closer to his family. Reed also spoke about his personal politics in the piece, indicating a more moderate approach akin to Clinton, “I’ve always been intrigued by helping shape public opinion. At heart, you could say I’m a conservative, and if you tie those two together, you could say that is why I ended up where I’m at.” Reed added that the GOP needs a “bigger tent.”
5. Casino Owner Steve Wynn Is One of Marco Rubio’s Contributors
Reed’s firing comes a day after Republican financier and casino owner Steve Wynn was accused of multiple counts of sexual harassment. A Business Insider list of the GOP beneficiaries of Wynn’s millions includes Senator. Marco Rubio. Although Rubio is included in the list of “smaller contributions.” In the wake of allegations, Wynn, a driving force behind Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, resigned as finance chair of the Republican National Committee.
A New York Times report on the Wynn scandal notes that Wynn had been early supporter of Rubio’s presidential campaign.