Donald Trump is expanding the role of top aide Paul Manafort, naming the longtime Republican operative as his Campaign Chairman and Chief Strategist.
Manafort joined Trump's campaign in late March to lead the campaign's delegate effort at a time when Trump's rivals were pushing to force a convention fight. But he quickly took on more responsibilities in the day-to-day operations of the campaign, prompting speculation of a rift between Manafort and Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski.
While the expanded role for Manafort could be viewed as a demotion for Lewandowski, the campaign stressed that Lewandowski will maintain his title as a campaign manager. He will “continue overseeing day to day operation and will work with Manafort on political strategy and communications, among other things, through the general election,” said Trump spokesman Hope Hicks.
But another source within the campaign says the new title for Manafort will "clarify who is in charge."
Manafort, a familiar face in Washington D.C., helped to manage the convention floor during the 1976 floor fight between Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan. He also worked at the 1980, 1988 and 1996 conventions.
Another individual with knowledge of the inner workings of the campaign explained that Manafort’s previous job description as a delegate manager “had a stop date at the end of the convention. Now he has a title that goes to November."
The move appears to be a sign of future changes to the campaign as Trump focuses on the general election, including changes within Trump’s communications team.