Paul Manafort, the veteran Republican operative who took over the Trump campaign after Corey Lewandowski’s ouster, resigned from the presidential nominee’s campaign on Friday.
Trump issued a statement confirming the resignation not long after press outlets began to report that Manafort had stepped down.
While some in the mainstream media were calling the move a sign of distress within the Republican nominee’s campaign, other pundits have said that it could mean Trump was re-embracing the strategy that propelled him to the nomination in the first place.
“This morning Paul Manafort offered, and I accepted, his resignation from the campaign,” Trump’s statement read, according to Politico.
“I am very appreciative for his great work in helping to get us where we are today, and in particular his work guiding us through the delegate and convention process,” Trump added. “Paul is a true professional and I wish him the greatest success.”
[email protected]’s statement on Paul Manafort resignation. pic.twitter.com/ctBaTopbUJ
— Fox News (@FoxNews) August 19, 2016
Manafort, a 67-year-old lobbyist and strategist, had previously worked for the campaigns of presidents Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, as well as 1996 Republican nominee Bob Dole. He had been brought into the Trump campaign in March, ostensibly for “delegate-corralling” purposes after several high-profile delegate coups by Trump’s closest nomination competitor, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas.
Rumors quickly began to circulate that Manafort was the real power behind the campaign, especially as the controversial Lewandowski had a number of public relations hiccups. Trump made it official in June, ousting Lewandowski and promoting Manafort to the position.
However, rumors began anew when Trump began adding new people to the campaign this week, including Breitbart executive Stephen Bannon as the campaign’s CEO and former Cruz PAC chairwoman Kellyanne Conway.
While Conway had been listed as campaign manager, the Trump campaign claimed that it was an expansion of staff as opposed to a new person at the helm. However, some also viewed the hire as a distancing of the campaign from Manafort, particularly over Manafort’s close ties with Ukrainian oligarchs with pro-Russian sympathies.
At the time, Manafort issued a statement welcoming the new hires as “respected professionals” who “will undoubtedly help take the campaign to new levels of success.” Just days later, he was gone.
While the left is going to be screaming that the Trump campaign is in disarray, there’s actually a lot to consider here.
First, it seemed to be a major pivot by Trump away from Russia, given Manafort’s alleged connection to pro-Russian lobbyists. Secondly, the hiring of Kellyanne Conway — who will assumedly take over Manafort’s duties — represented the first major olive branch to the Ted Cruz contingent we’ve seen since the convention. Especially given the hurt feelings of many who backed the Texas senator, it was a major step forward in reconciliation on the way to November.
Third, and perhaps most importantly, Trump is a businessman. Unlike inside the Beltway people, who tolerate underperformance just as long as you have the right connections, Trump doesn’t tolerate failure. He has apparently gotten the feeling that his campaign was stagnating and instead of trying to put a spin on the problem, he looked for a solution to it.
There was always the feeling that Manafort wasn’t a proper fit with the Trump campaign. He was an old-school GOP’er of an establishment bent, one who had a Rolodex that included every lobbyist who worked on K Street but who didn’t realize that a Rolodex was 20 years out of date.
Trump got where he got because of his embrace of a hyper-modern election strategy. While Trump’s drop in the polls has been nowhere near as precipitous as the mainstream media would like to maintain, it’s become clear that he isn’t making the huge leap that many anticipated.
Say what you will about him, but he’s a man who’s willing to make changes — and if he’ll make them to his campaign, just think about what he’ll do in the White House.
(via: Conservative Tribune)