Roger Stone: I chose to leave Trump’s campaign
Roger Stone said he is resigning from the New York business mogul’s political team after concluding he is not aiding its progress.
“I resigned largely because I thought I was having no impact,” Stone told host Poppy Harlow on “CNN Newsroom.”
“I would have to say I am disappointed,” he added. “No one puts words in Trump’s mouth, even me. Trump is going to be the master of his campaign.”
Reports initially conflicted Saturday over whether Stone’s departure was a firing or voluntary.
“Mr. Trump fired Roger Stone last night,” a spokesman 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 by providing the news outlet 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 tweet 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.”
Stone admitted Saturday that Trump’s feud with Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly is hurting public perception of the celebrity businessman.
“I think they are counterproductive to getting elected,” Stone said of the billionaire’s attack on Kelly.
“That’s not the Trump I know,” he said. “He’s bigger than that.”
“The point is that the presidency is decided on bigger-picture issues,” Stone added. “[But] he is not scripted, he is not handled. I am not going to kiss and tell.”
Stone, a longtime friend of Trump, said he plans on supporting the real estate kingpin’s Oval Office bid and letting bygones be bygones.
“I have nothing but admiration and respect for Donald Trump,” he said. “I have been to two of his three weddings and both of his parents’ funerals.”
“This is just politics,” Stone added. “He can win the Republican nomination, but he needs to get his campaign back on track. I think he can be a very good president.”
Trump inspired national shock by criticizing Kelly on Friday evening, after a verbal exchange the night before in Cleveland.
Kelly, a moderator in the GOP’s first televised debate Thursday, interrogated Trump over his past remarks toward 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.
Backlash against the remarks was swift among critics who found them crude and demeaning.
The RedState Gathering, an annual conservative forum taking place in Atlanta this weekend, revoked its invitation to Trump for an appearance there Saturday evening.
The GOP’s large 2016 pack, meanwhile, was no more forgiving of the reality TV star’s comments.
Multiple Republican White House hopefuls have since pounced on Trump, sensing vulnerability in the front-runner for their party’s coronation.
Trump’s political team responded by turning the tables on its detractors in a statement issued Saturday.
“Mr. Trump made Megyn Kelly look really bad — she was a mess with her anger and caught totally off guard,” his campaign said.
“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 added. “Only a deviant would think anything else.”
Kelly initially challenged Trump on Thursday evening over a history of remarks some believe are disrespectful toward women.
Phrases like “slob” and “fat pig,” she said, were some of the comments raising concern among possible voters.