Paul Manafort, Chairman of Trump’s presidential campaign, resigned on Friday.
"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." — Donald J. Trump
The announcement comes on the heels of Trump hiring Stephen Bannon as the campaign’s chief executive and Kellyanne Conway as campaign manager earlier in the week. Manafort was also dealing with allegations that his consultant work in the Ukraine benefited pro-Russian elements. The Washington Post reported that Manafort’s name had appeared in an inquiry by the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine.
Concern over Manafort’s Ukraine connection
Trump’s son, Eric confirmed to Fox News that the campaign was concerned that Manafort’s business connections in the Ukraine would become a distraction to the campaign and contributed to the request for Manafort’s resignation.
"My father just didn’t want to have the distraction looming over the campaign and quite frankly looming over all the issues that Hillary is facing right now." — Eric Trump
Manafort replaced longtime campaign manager Corey Lewandowski in June as the leading non-family member in Trump’s campaign hierarchy. Lewandowski had faced criticism not running a disciplined campaign and was blamed for some of Trump’s more incendiary remarks. Lewandowski was an advocate of the successful “let Trump be Trump” style that propelled him to victory in the primaries, but was deemed too unconventional to work in the general election campaign.
Trump declares “I am who I am.”
Reports suggested that Trump was becoming increasingly frustrated at efforts to turn him into a more traditional candidate.
"I am who I am. It’s me. I don’t want to change. Everyone talks about oh well you’re going to pivot. I don’t want to pivot. I mean you have to be you. If you start pivoting, you’re not being honest with people...I am who I am." — Donald Trump – WKBT television
Trump seems determined to win or lose the election by being Donald Trump. The departure of Paul Manafort and the emergence of Stephen Bannon and Kellyanne Conaway appears designed to allow that to happen.