Eric Trump offered vague explanations for the resignation of Paul Manafort, Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, from his father’s team Friday in which Eric alluded to a “distraction looming over the campaign.”
“My father didn’t want to be you know distracted by whatever things Paul was dealing with,” the younger Trump said in a preview of a Fox News interview airing Sunday. The full interview will air on Fox News Channel’s Sunday Morning Futures on Sunday.
In the preview, Eric Trump went on to praise the “amazing” Manafort for helping the campaign “get to the convention.”
The Trump campaign announced Manafort’s resignation as campaign chairman earlier Friday, days after it had brought on Breitbart News’ Steve Bannon as its CEO and GOP pollster Kellyanne Conway as campaign manager.
“Now you look at Kellyanne and the other people we’re bringing in and they’re absolutely fantastic and I think they’re going to be the ones that bring us all the way through November 8th and ultimately get us the victory,” Eric Trump said.
Manafort had been promoted to Trump campaign manager in June in a shake-up that sidelined the previous head of the campaign, Corey Lewandowski. Republicans hoped Manafort’s hiring would bring about some sort of “pivot” towards the general election, but Trump has continued to cause controversy with inflammatory statements and extreme proposals, while his poll numbers sank.
Meanwhile, Manafort’s resume working for controversial foreign leaders, and particularly for Ukranian politicians with Russian ties, brought increasing scrutiny to his influence over the Trump campaign. Many blamed him for changes to the GOP platform at July’s national convention that watered down the party’s stance on aiding Ukraine against Russian incursion — a claim Manfort rebuked. This week, the New York Times reported a handwritten ledger showed $12.7 million had been allotted for payments to Manafort from a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine between 2007 and 2012. Manafort denied receiving any cash payments and called the idea “unfounded, silly and nonsensical.”
Eric Trump did not say anything Friday that explicitly pointed to Manafort’s Ukranian dealings as being a factor in his resignation.
“My father just didn’t want to have the distraction looming over the campaign and quite frankly looming over all the issues that Hillary is facing right now,” he said.