Donald Trump has fired his contentious campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, a move that comes as the presumptive Republican nominee faces challenges as he heads into the general election.
Lewandowski could not immediately be reached for comment about his departure, which was announced by the campaign.
“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,” the campaign spokeswoman, Hope Hicks, said in a statement. “The campaign is grateful to Corey for his hard work and dedication and we wish him the best in the future.”
With the Republican National Convention looming next month, Trump is facing the task of broadening his team to include people with previous presidential campaign experience. Trump also has been turning his attention to fundraising for the first time, a task that Lewandowski had assumed oversight of and one that has gone slowly for the campaign. The campaign has aired no ads in the general election, and there has been no super PAC that received a clear public blessing from Trump and his top advisers.
The loss of Lewandowski was intended as part of a larger shift toward the final sprint of the race, according to those briefed on the matter.
Trump had faced increasing concerns from allies and donors, as well as his children, about the next phase of the campaign. It is a move that could reassure donors and Republicans more broadly that he can adjust toward a November election strategy.
Two people briefed on the move, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that Lewandowski was fired.
The campaign manager was seen as having a hostile relationship with many members of the national press corps who cover Trump, and many officials at the Republican National Committee had strained relationships with him.
And Lewandowski was often at odds with Trump’s chief strategist, Paul Manafort, who was brought on in March when the candidate seemed poised for a lengthy fight over delegates.
Lewandowski was said to have resisted certain moves that would have increased the number of staff members, at times blocking Manafort from making hires or later undoing them.
But the people briefed on Lewandowski’s departure said that the circumstances went well beyond any particular episode or any particular relationship. Lewandowski had a penchant for making headlines about himself that overshadowed his boss, including being charged with misdemeanor battery, a charge later dropped, after he was accused of grabbing a reporter as she approached Trump with a question in Jupiter, Florida, on March 8, a night when the candidate won three of four Republican state primary votes.
One person stressed that the move had been in the works for many weeks, particularly since it became clear that Trump would be the nominee. The person added said that the campaign is now focusing on bringing the party together, including hiring new staff members and adjusting to the race against Hillary Clinton. And there had been a desire for many weeks to make changes ahead of the Republican National Convention, July 18-21 in Cleveland.
Lewandowski, 42, a New Hampshire resident with deep ties to the state, had made himself a delegate to the convention months ago. He is still the chairman of the state’s delegation to the convention.
No one inside the campaign was given any advance warning about the dismissal of Lewandowski, who was on the campaign’s daily 8:30 a.m. conference call Monday, according to a person briefed on the developments.
On Twitter, some campaign staff members rejoiced at the news of Lewandowski’s departure.
“Ding dong the witch is dead!” wrote Michael Caputo, a Trump communications aide who was said to have been antagonized by Lewandowski.
GAZETTE COVERAGEEnsure access to everything we do, today and every day, check out our subscribe page at DailyGazette.com/Subscribe
More from The Daily Gazette: