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Veteran strategist Paul Manafort becomes Trump’s campaign chairman

Paul Manafort, left, answers a question from a reporter. (Joe Skipper/Reuters)

NEW YORK — Paul Manafort, the veteran strategist who joined Donald Trump's campaign two months ago to wrangle convention delegates, was given a new title on Thursday: campaign chairman and chief strategist.

Manafort, who has decades of political experience in the United States and overseas, will continue to help the campaign prepare for the Republican convention in July but he will primarily focus on gearing up the general election, according to campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks. Trump's longtime campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, will continue in that role and continue to oversee many day-to-day campaign operations.

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Hicks said that the title change should be seen as "putting permanence" to Manafort's role in the campaign now that Trump is the likely nominee and there is slim chance of a contested GOP convention in July. She said that Manafort and Lewandowski will continue to have their own sets of responsibilities.

Manafort's title change was first reported by ABC News.

Manafort joined the campaign in late March at a time when Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) was aggressively targeting delegates and the party seemed headed toward a contested convention. Ever since then, Manafort and Lewandowski have seemed to wrestle for control of the campaign and for Trump's attention. Lewandowski operates under a policy of "let Trump be Trump," while Manafort has seemed to push the candidate to exercise more discipline on the campaign trail.

When asked if Manafort's apparent promotion means Lewandowski is losing power in the campaign, Hicks replied: "They're very much working together."

Lewandowski and Manafort have yet to respond to requests for comment.