Paul Manafort’s decision to resign as Donald Trump’s campaign chairman wasn’t entirely of his own volition, according to Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway.
“He was asked, and he indeed tendered his resignation today,” Conway on Friday told WABC’s Rita Cosby on whether the campaign requested Manafort’s resignation. BuzzFeed first reported Conway’s admission that Manafort was asked to step down.
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Trump’s campaign announced in a statement Friday morning that Manafort had offered his resignation. The Republican presidential nominee accepted his former top aide’s move toward the exits, which came two days after Conway, a veteran pollster, was promoted and Breitbart executive Stephen Bannon was tapped as campaign CEO.
“Mr. Trump accepted his resignation and wished him well and thanked him for his service,” Conway said of Manafort. “I think it’s as simple as that. The last couple weeks have been very rough with the campaign.”
Conway described Manafort’s departure as a “mutual and a very mutually respectful decision.” And while the campaign intends to bolster its team with new additions, Conway dismissed the likelihood of the campaign replacing Manafort with a new chairman.
“That’s completely uncertain and perhaps unlikely. We’ve got a CEO, Steve Bannon; I’m the campaign manager; we have a great executive team,” she said. “We will be filling other positions, only because when it comes to the waning weeks of a presidential campaign, Rita, more is more. More personnel is better. And so we are beefing up coalitions and comms and digital and data operations.”