- The Washington Times - Saturday, August 8, 2015

Donald Trump’s campaign announced Saturday it has fired its top political adviser Roger Stone, but friends of Mr. Stone say he resigned. 

In a statement on Saturday, Mr. Trump’s campaign said that the GOP candidate fired Mr. Stone for using the campaign for personal gain. 

“We have a tremendously successful campaign and Roger wanted to use the campaign for his own personal publicity. He has had a number of articles about him recently and Mr. Trump wants to keep the focus of the campaign on how to Make America Great Again,” a campaign spokesperson told CNN. 

But Mr. Stone told CNN that he quit and had provided a resignation letter on Friday. 

“Unfortunately, the current controversies involving personalities and provocative media fights have reached such a high volume that it has distracted attention from your platform and overwhelmed your core message. With this current direction of the candidacy, I no longer can remain involved in your campaign,” Mr. Stone’s letter to Mr. Trump says, according to CNN.

Mr. Stone added that he regarded Mr. Trump as a friend and wished him well. 

“Be assured I will continue to be vocal and active in the national debate to ensure our nation does not again turn to the failed and distrusted Bush/Clinton families.”

After the Trump camp announced they had canned Mr. Stone, he tweeted Saturday afternoon that he “fired Trump,” after the GOP candidate made controversial remarks against Fox moderator Megyn Kelly.   

“Sorry @realDonaldTrump didn’t fire me — I fired Trump. Diasagree [sic] with diversion to food fight with @megynkelly away core issue messages,” Mr. Stone tweeted. 

Mr. Trump’s campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, told CNN the team never saw Mr. Stone’s resignation letter. 

Matt Mackowiak, a Republican political consultant and close friend of Mr. Stone told CNN that Mr. Stone was deeply disappointed with Mr. Trump’s debate performance Thursday night. 

He said Mr. Stone, who helped Mr. Trump prepare for the debate, had hoped the candidate would tone down his rhetoric and stay focused on issues like illegal immigration and trade. Instead, Mr. Stone felt like Mr. Trump had taken the debate to a “circus-like place,” CNN reported. 

Tensions grew even higher after Mr. Trump made inflammatory comment about Ms. Kelly, saying she “had blood coming out of her eyes” and alleging that her “ridiculous” questions were a sign that she had an agenda. 

“Calling into CNN and making outrageous comments about Megyn Kelly and making it even more of a circus that is already is, Roger just felt like he couldn’t stand by him,” Mr. Mackowiak told CNN. 

• Kellan Howell can be reached at khowell@washingtontimes.com.

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