Donald Trump’s campaign chair Paul Manafort has officially resigned — after trying to fix the campaign for two months.
Trump announced the news 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.
But the campaign continued to struggle under Manafort. At one point, Trump earned weeks of negative attention after suggesting that a federal judge should recuse himself from the Trump University case because of his Mexican heritage. And after the convention, Trump got into a bizarre feud with the family of a fallen Muslim veteran.
Meanwhile, Manafort himself has become a story because of his extensive ties to Russian interests. On August 14, the New York Times reported on a ledger documenting $12.7 million in payments to Manafort from the party of Ukraine's pro-Russian president at the time, Viktor Yanukovych. Coupled with Trump’s weirdly pro-Russian leanings, that news raised a lot of eyebrows.
In Manafort's place, Trump recently hired Steve Bannon, CEO of the ultra-conservative website Breitbart News, as the new "chief executive" of the campaign.
Bannon will face a huge challenge in trying to turn things around. Trump’s campaign is wildly behind Hillary Clinton in the polls. It was not supposed to be this way: As Vox’s election model shows, political science models suggests this was supposed to be a winning year for Republicans, but Trump is costing the party nearly 6 points — a fatal gap for a presidential candidate.