- Getty Images/Joe Raedle
Donald Trump parted ways with campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, the campaign announced Monday.
Lewandowski has been a controversial figure in this election cycle. His ouster, first reported by The New York Times, came as Trump took a dive in the polls ahead of the general election.
“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,” spokeswoman Hope Hicks said in a statement to The Times. “The campaign is grateful to Corey for his hard work and dedication and we wish him the best in the future.”
An unnamed source told The Times that the campaign had long planned to adjust its team as Trump prepares for the general election.
Reports of turmoil within the campaign started surfacing after Trump brought on Paul Manafort and later promoted him to chairman and chief strategist.
But Lewandowski first came under fire before Manafort was elevated to his current position within the campaign. Trump stood by Lewandowski when a Breitbart reporter accused him of manhandling her at a campaign event, refusing to fire him even after he was charged with battery.
When asked whether this was true, Hope Hicks, the campaign’s spokeswoman, told Business Insider: “This decision was made by the campaign.”
Lewandowski himself responded to these reports in an interview on MSNBC on Monday, saying:
“Nah I don’t that’s true at all. I think, you know, what has been clear from the get go, that my strategy has been and at some level was successful, was let Trump be Trump. And you’ve got a person who has completely changed the way that politics is viewed in this country for the better. And you’ve got a thoroughbred, a person like Donald Trump, who has had his, his heart and his finger on the pulse of the American people for a long. And so, you know, I like to say that I’m a person who’s been able to help implement some of his ideas and that’s what I’ve been able to do. But anybody to say that the family disagreed, I don’t think would be accurate.”
Lewandowski’s apparent firing was said to come as a surprise – he was reportedly on the campaign’s 8:30 a.m. conference call Monday morning, according to the Times.
Sources within the Republican National Committee, however, reportedly knew that Lewandowski was close to getting fired.
Lewandowski had a reputation on the Trump campaign for being hostile.
Michael Caputo, a senior adviser to the Trump campaign, tweeted this after news of Lewandowski’s reported firing broke:
— That Michael Caputo (@MichaelRCaputo) June 20, 2016
The campaign is now reportedly focusing on hiring new staff members to prepare for the general election, according to The Times.