In an attempt to distance himself from his controversial campaign chairman, GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump announced on Friday that he has accepted the resignation of Paul Manafort. Accused of secretly accepting payments from the Ukraine and lobbying for the foreign government without registering as a foreign agent, Manafort was reportedly told to resign in order to avoid further inspection of Trump’s questionable relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“This morning Paul Manafort offered, and I accepted, his resignation from the campaign,” Trump wrote in a statement on Friday. “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.”
But according to The New York Times, Trump decided to ask for Manafort’s resignation on Thursday night after The Associated Press reported that Manafort had helped a pro-Russian governing party in Ukraine secretly route at least $2.2 million in payments to two prominent Washington lobbying firms. The AP article reported that Manafort’s lobbyists failed to publicly declare that they represented foreign leaders.
Covertly working on behalf of the political party of Ukraine’s then-president, Viktor Yanukovych, Manafort’s lobbying firms advocated Yanukovych’s political interests before the U.S. Congress. In one case, the Washington-based lobbyists unsuccessfully attempted to shut down a congressional resolution condemning the imprisonment of Yanukovych’s political rival, Yulia Tymoshenko.
Before firing his campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, Trump assigned Manafort as his campaign chairman. Charged with one count of battery for grabbing then-Breitbart News reporter, Michelle Fields, Lewandowski was captured on video again a few weeks later violently grabbing a protester by the collar during a Trump rally.
Less than a week before accepting Manafort’s resignation on Friday, Trump hired Stephen Bannon, formerly of Breitbart News, as his chief executive and Kellyanne Conway as his new campaign manager. Recently forced to resign as Fox News chairman, Roger Ailes has also been counseling Trump according to The New York Times. At least 20 women have recently accused Ailes of sexual harassment, including Gretchen Carlson, Megyn Kelly, Laurie Luhn, and Andrea Tantaros.
On the same day that Trump announced Manafort’s resignation, the presidential candidate tweeted, “The reporting at the failing @nytimes gets worse and worse by the day. Fortunately, it is a dying newspaper.”
Although Trump failed to immediately clarify which New York Times article had enraged him, his contemptuous relationship with the press does not appear to be improving any time soon. Instead of throwing temper tantrums on Twitter, perhaps the GOP candidate should surround himself with better company.