Paul Manafort has been having a terrible, no-good, very bad month, and he has now decided to throw in the towel as Donald Trump's campaign chairman and chief strategist.
Nothing about Donald Trump's campaign since his very brief post-convention bounce has been smooth, but shortly after his one-second tenure at the top of the polls, several allegations began to materialize in relation to Manafort's work during the last decade for former Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovych.
“We had rocks thrown at us. Rocks hit Marines. Buses were rocked back and forth. We were just… Read more Read more
At the same time, Trump's post-convention bounce quickly turned into a
slide, a spot he's occupied for almost a month now. Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton has turned most of the swing states blue and showed signs of making a few red states purple, and Trump can't seem to climb back up. Reports claimed that Manafort had been trying, in vain, to get Trump to change his style, but that Trump was refusing.
Whether it was the Ukrainian allegations or Trump's poor performance in the polls, someone at Trump Tower must have felt it was time for a shake-up. On Wednesday, the candidate announced
two new top leadership positions, without making it very clear how they related to Manafort. They were widely seen as a signal that Trump was embracing his hard-right campaign tactics even more fully, and totally rejecting Manafort's reported attempts to soften his image somewhat. Manafort professed to be fine with the changes, but two days later, he was gone. From bankrolling a gay-themed film flop to buying tons of houses, it pays to be a quiet overseas… Read more Read more
"This morning Paul Manafort offered, and I accepted, his resignation from the campaign," Trump said in a statement. "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's work in the Ukraine began to draw more scrutiny after Trump raised eyebrows
by softening his party's platform against pro-Russian rebels in that country. Shortly thereafter, a Fusion investigation found Manafort's clients had set up shell corporations with Panamanian firm Mossack Fonseca, known for the " Panama Papers" leak from earlier this year.
Further Fusion investigations into Manafort's Ukrainian ties found he had received
millions in under-the table payments from Ukrainian government clients, and may have participated in setting up a protest against U.S. marines visiting the Ukraine for a NATO demonstration. The Trump campaign's relationship to Vladimir Putin might go deeper than anyone even thinks. Read more Read more
Manafort has denied allegations that his work in the Ukraine involved
any illegal or unethical activity.
Manafort hasn't released a statement on his resignation yet, so it's not clear what his next step is. Maybe, like the last campaign manager to leave the Trump campaign, there will be a job waiting for him at CNN. That might be a better option for him then going back to the Ukraine. Prosecutors there have some questions for him.
Note: This post originally said Paul Manafort was Trump's campaign manager. His title was campaign chairman.