Roger Stone, a longtime Republican operative known for his hardball tactics, is disputing a claim made by Donald Trump that the GOP 2016 frontrunner had fired Stone from his presidential campaign.
After Trump told The Washington Post’s Robert Costa Saturday that he had canned Stone Friday evening by e-mail, Stone denied the claim to Costa and took to Twitter to rebut Trump’s account.
Sorry @realDonaldTrump didn’t fire me- I fired Trump. Diasagree with diversion to food fight with @megynkelly away core issue messages
— Roger Stone (@RogerJStoneJr) August 8, 2015
Stone also shared with MSNBC the letter of resignation Stone said he sent Trump, in which he wrote, “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.”
Before Trump publicly made the claim that he had fired Stone, the operative’s colleagues told Politico that Stone had in fact quit.
Stone, whose reputation for political trickery goes back to the Richard Nixon administration, was serving as a paid communications adviser on the Trump campaign.
In statement to MSNBC, a Trump campaign spokesman stood by Trump’s initial claim and said Stone had been fired because “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 American Great Again.”
The internal strife comes as Trump was already facing criticism — including by some in the Republican Party’s conservative wing — for suggesting Friday that Megyn Kelly had “blood coming out of her wherever” during this week’s GOP debate.