Paul Manafort has now been on both ends of Donald Trump experience. In April, he was brought in as the adult in the room, the (sort of) establishment guy who was going to instill order in the controlled chaos of Trumpworld. This week he found himself cast out, playing the sacrificial lamb for Trump's flagging campaign.
The trouble started early in the week for Manafort as Trump announced he was bringing on Breitbart News executive Stephen Bannon and elevating pollster KellyAnne Conway to campaign manager. Everyone involved -- including Conway -- insisted that this wasn't a shake-up, merely an adding of senior staff for the stretch run of the race.
Forty eight hours later, Manafort resigned. Or at least that was the way the Trump campaign tried to spin it -- at first. “This morning Paul Manafort offered, and I accepted, his resignation from the campaign," said Trump. "I am very appreciative for his great work in helping to get us where we are today, and in particular his work guiding us through the delegate and convention process. Paul is a true professional and I wish him the greatest success.”
But, then that story wasn't, well, the whole story. "He was asked and he indeed tendered his resignation today," Conway told WABC radio host Rita Cosby on Friday night. Translated: Manafort was fired.
When you are brought in to replace a fired campaign manager, you know the clock is ticking on you. (Being a campaign manager is sort of like being a baseball manager; it's almost never "if" you get fired, it's "when.") And, for Manafort, who had been out of the political game for a very long time, Trump put him back in the mix -- even though the real estate mogul ultimately canned him.
Still, getting ousted from the top job -- with the eyes of the political world on you -- is no fun. Paul Manafort, you had the Worst Week in Washington. Congrats, or something.