After taking on a controversial role during primary season, Donald Trump's campaign manager Corey Lewandowski was fired Monday. The move was announced by campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks in the Trumpiest of ways, by first self-congratulating the Trump campaign for its "historic record in the Republican Primary" and then abruptly transitioning into Lewandowski's departure:
The Donald J. Trump Campaign for President, which has set a historic record in the Republican Primary having received almost 14 million votes, has today announced that Corey Lewandowski will no longer be working with the campaign. The campaign is grateful to Corey for his hard work and dedication and we wish him the best in the future.
The New York Times reported that a "person briefed on the moves" said the campaign had long planned on adapting to the needs of the general election race. Maggie Haberman wrote that Trump faced concerns from allies and donors — even his children — about "his preparedness to pivot toward a general election while holding onto his slender team."
The move was abrupt: As recently as Saturday, Lewandowski tweeted from a Trump campaign event in Las Vegas. It is not, however, a surprise to insiders following the Trump Train. NBC News reported the campaign has been in turmoil for some time since his top strategist Paul Manafort began his efforts to "polish" Trump and put in place a traditional campaign structure. Lewandowski, on the other hand, had a let "Trump be Trump" policy. As far back as April, Manafort distanced himself from Lewandowski, claiming that he worked directly for Trump.
Tweets from within and around the campaign Monday morning point to a break in the communication chain — as well as some blatant discontent with Lewandowski. Trump's New York state director Michael Caputo tweeted a YouTube video of "Ding-Dong! The Witch Is Dead" from The Wizard of Oz shortly after the announcement. Other high-ranking "Trump sources" apparently hadn't heard anything: Ben Jacobs of The Guardian tweeted that one source he spoke with had "no idea what was going on."
As for Lewandowski, even the nearly 14 million votes he won Trump in the primaries were not "historic" enough to secure his job through November. In addition to the friction with Manafort, he drew attention when a Breitbart reporter accused him of forcibly grabbing her arm to keep her from questioning Trump. She filed a criminal complaint, he was arrested and charged with simple battery, but the state of Florida decided not to prosecute.
At the time, Trump stood by his man. "I don't discard people. I stay with people," Trump said at the time.
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