Members inside GOP presumptive presidential candidate Donald Trump’s campaign said that Paul Manafort has taken over as campaign manager:
Three people close to the campaign said some of Trump’s staff viewed Lewandowski as opposing strategic changes and staff hires urged for the general election campaign by Paul Manafort, a strategist hired in April partly for his experience on presidential campaigns that Lewandowski lacked.
The three, a campaign staffer and two people in regular contact with Trump advisers, spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized by Trump to discuss the firing.
Manafort will take over as campaign manager, said Carl Paladino, co-chairman of the campaign’s operations in New York state.
“Paul’s in charge,” Sean Spicer, the Republican National Committee’s communications director, said in an interview.
Trump brought in Manafort in late March as an advisor. People may not know Manafort, but those like me who have covered Ukraine since 2013 know the name all too well since he once advised ex-President Viktor Yanukovych.
The man who advised the Moscow-backed president of Ukraine is now managing the campaign of the GOP candidate. While Manafort has consulted numerous unsavory individuals, Yanukovych remains fresh since his downfall has led to the worst tensions between the West and Russia since the Cold War.
Not enough articles have expanded on this. Sure, some posted about it when Trump brought on Manafort back in April, but never close to the front page.
Yanukovych ran for president in 2004, but came under fire when someone poisoned his opponent Viktor Yushchenko with dioxin poisoning. Luckily, he survived and won a second round election after experts deemed the first election invalid. Yanukovych’s image obviously took a hit because of the poisoning (even though no one has connected him to it), but also because he reminded the pro-Europeans too much of the old Soviet ways.
He then sought Manafort to reform his image, which started in his “tightly organized campaign events, in his pointed speeches and in how he has presented himself to the world.” This allowed Yanukovych to move through parliament just as Yushchenko’s popularity dived with the public:
“He brought a political pariah back from death, back from the graveyard,” said Brian Mefford, an American political consultant who has advised Mr Yushchenko and other Ukrainian politicians.
Despite his reputation as a “dark prince”, Mr Manafort deserved credit “for softening the rough edges of Yanukovich and consolidating [Ukraine’s] pro-Russia vote”, Mr Mefford said.
A former western diplomat also credited the consultant, saying, “Manafort dressed up Yanukovich, polished Yanukovich’s presentation and made over Yanukovich’s political positions.”
Asked about Manafort’s personal style, the diplomat responded: “I wouldn’t say he is charming — he tries to be charming.”
With a fresh vibe around him, Yanukovych won the presidential election against former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko in 2010. Before she could contest the election, the government brought embezzlement cases and other lawsuits against her. She landed a seven year prison sentence and Yanukovych remained in power.
He remained close with Russian President Vladimir Putin, but ticked him off when he agreed to sign the European Union Association Agreement. Putin could feel Ukraine, often called the crown jewel of Russia since many consider Kyiv as its birthplace, slipping through his fingers. He used money to persuade Yanukovych away from the EU and back with Russia.
Ukrainians felt that was the last straw and birthed Euromaidan. For three months, protests in Independence Square demanded Yanukovych step down, which finally happened on February 22, 2014. Next thing the world knew, uprisings began in east Ukraine and Crimea. Russia annexed the peninsula and constant reports of Russian soldiers in east Ukraine surfaced. Officials issued threats against ex-Soviet republics, leading them to ask NATO for extra security.
Yanukovych fled to Russia, where he is still located. Ukraine’s still struggling to shed the corruption and fight the war in the east. Russia continues to build forces on Ukraine’s border. Pro-Russian separatists shot down a passenger airline plane in July 2014, killing over 200 people. The West placed numerous economic sanctions on Russia and kicked them out of the G8.
Manafort has succeeded with other GOP candidates, but is it wise to bring in the man who advised the Ukrainian president that caused all the problems between the West and Russia? I guess not since the media constantly forgets Ukraine.DONATE
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