Paul Manafort stepped down as chairman of the Donald Trump campaign on Friday morning.
“This morning Paul Manafort offered, and I accepted, his resignation from the campaign. 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,” the campaign said in a statement.
Earlier this week, Trump shook up his campaign staff by naming Breitbart News executive chairman Stephen K. Bannon CEO of his campaign and pollster and GOP campaign strategist Kellyanne Conway was promoted to campaign manager.
Manafort was expected to remain campaign chairman and chief strategist, but many political pundits declared Bannon’s arrival as the beginning of the end for Manafort.
Manafort has been tangled up in rumors about ties to pro-Russian Ukrainian politicians. Manafort’s firm organized a secret Washington lobbying operation on behalf of Ukraine’s then-ruling political party, the Associated Press reported Thursday. Manafort and his deputy, Rick Gates, never disclosed their work as foreign agents as required under federal law, according to the AP.
This type of news is obviously something the Trump campaign needs to avoid, especially with so many pundits hinting at ties between Trump and Vladimir Putin.
Manafort follows Corey Lewandowski as the second person running Trump’s campaign to be out of a job before the general election. Lewandowski landed at CNN and it will be interesting to see if a news organization hires Manafort to be an in-house Trump supporter for the duration of the campaign season.