A major political strategist has left Donald TrumpDonald TrumpCheney says a lot of GOP lawmakers have privately encouraged her fight against Trump Republicans criticizing Afghan refugees face risks DeVos says 'principles have been overtaken by personalities' in GOP MORE’s 2016 GOP presidential candidate, a new report says — but it’s unclear who severed the relationship.
Roger Stone is no longer aiding the outspoken billionaire’s quest for the White House, according to CNN.
Reports conflicted on Saturday over whether Stone’s departure was a firing or a resigning, the news outlet added.
“Mr. Trump fired Roger Stone last night,” a spokesperson for Trump’s campaign told CNN on Saturday.
“We have a tremendously successful campaign and Roger wanted to use the campaign for his own personal publicity. He has had a number of articles about him recently and Mr. Trump wants to keep the focus of the campaign on how to make America great again.”
Stone contradicted that version of events, CNN said, by providing the media organization with his resignation letter Saturday.
“Unfortunately, the current controversies involving personalities and provocative media fights have reached such a high volume that it has distracted attention from your platform and overwhelmed your core message,” the document says. “With this current direction of the candidacy, I no longer can remain involved in your campaign.”
“I care about you as a friend and wish you well,” Stone also reportedly tells Trump in the letter. “Be assured I will continue to be vocal and active in the national debate to ensure our nation does not again turn to the failed and distrusted Bush/Clinton families.”
Stone elaborated further on his exodus from the Trump political machine in a post on his Twitter Saturday afternoon.
“Sorry @realDonaldTrump didn’t fire me – I fired Trump,” he tweeted. “Disagree with diversion to food fight with @megynkelly away core issue messages.”
Trump inspired national shock by criticizing Fox News moderator Megyn Kelly on Friday evening, after a verbal exchange the night before.
Kelly, a moderator in the GOP’s first televised presidential debate Thursday, interrogated Trump over his past remarks towards women.
“You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever,” Trump told CNN host Don Lemon on Friday night.
Critics have since pounced on Trump’s statement as crude and demeaning.
It also got the reality TV star disinvited from the RedState Gathering, an annual conservative forum taking place this weekend in Atlanta.
The New York business mogul’s presidential campaign responded by defending its figurehead in a statement published Saturday morning.
“Mr. Trump made Megyn Kelly look really bad – she was a mess with her anger and caught totally off guard,” Trump’s political team said in a statement.
“Mr. Trump said, ‘blood was coming out of her eyes and whatever,’ meaning her nose, and wanted to move on to more important topics,” it said. “Only a deviant would think anything else.”
The GOP’s crowded 2016 field has since dogpiled on Trump, sensing vulnerability in the frontrunner for their party’s nomination.
Multiple Republican White House hopefuls have denounced the real estate kingpin’s rhetoric as an embarrassing gaffe.
- Updated at 3:44 p.m.
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