Donald Trump’s campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, resigned from the Republican presidential candidate’s campaign on Friday, August 19, Trump revealed in a statement.
“This morning Paul Manafort offered, and I accepted, his resignation from the campaign,” the 70-year-old real estate mogul wrote. “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. Paul is a true professional and I wish him the greatest success.”
Manafort, 67, has been an outspoken part of Trump’s campaign, but in the past week, had his role shifted from campaign manager to campaign chairman with the promotion of veteran pollster Kellyanne Conway to campaign manager and Breitbart News’ Steve Bannon to campaign CEO.
Manafort, a Republican campaign veteran who helped manage the 1976 convention floor for Gerald Ford, has come under fire in recent weeks over reports supposedly linking him to former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych, a close ally of Vladimir Putin.
According to CNN, a Trump source says that Manafort told Trump that his own ties to Russia were becoming a distraction from the campaign itself, and so he submitted his resignation.
Manafort’s exit from Trump’s campaign is the second major departure in the past few months, with campaign manager Corey Lewandowski fired on June 20.
Trump has been having a tumultuous run on the campaign trail in recent weeks, but on Thursday, August 18, Trump made an unusual statement while speaking to a crowd in Charlotte, North Carolina, expressing “regret” for some of the off-the-cuff, offensive things that he has said since the GOP National Convention.
“Sometimes, in the heat of debate and speaking on a multitude of issues, you don’t choose the right words or you say the wrong thing,” he said, reading off teleprompters. “I have done that. And believe it or not, I regret it. And I do regret it, particularly where it may have caused personal pain. Too much is at stake for us to be consumed with these issues. But one thing I can promise you is this: I will always tell you the truth.”
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