From Stuart Jolly:
It's true. I've stepped down from my position with the Trump campaign. I'm sure my resignation will be spun by the press, but I left on top and on my own terms. Corey Lewandowski gave me a wonderful opportunity and working with Corey and Michael Glassner was a dream come true. Winning NH, SC and 20 other races is something that can't be taken away from us, but it was time to leave. On to bigger and better things!
In a shakeup that’s roiling Donald Trump's presidential campaign, the GOP front-runner told senior staffers at a Saturday meeting that he wants his recent hires Paul Manafort and Rick Wiley to take the reins in upcoming states, giving them a $20-million budget for key contests in May and June, according to three sources with knowledge of the meeting.
But sources inside the Trump campaign said the moves are increasingly alienating staff loyal to the original team headed by campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, which had guided Trump from the political fringe to the precipice of the GOP presidential nomination with relatively little campaign infrastructure or spending.
One key Lewandowski loyalist, national field director Stuart Jolly, on Monday submitted a letter of resignation, according to the sources, who characterized Jolly as displeased with the reorganization. Under the new structure, Jolly would have reported to Wiley, who was hired last week by Manafort as political director. In turn, Wiley, who previously ran Scott Walker's disappointing presidential campaign, will report to Manafort, who was hired late last month and quickly boasted “I work directly for the boss.”
One operative who has worked with the campaign and was briefed on the changes said “Stuart will not work with Rick Wiley. It just wasn’t going to happen.” The operative added that the change had sparked particular concern among the campaign’s field staff, many of whom were hired by Jolly and maintained close contact with him — a rarity on a campaign with a reputation for top-down communication.
“Stuart is the only guy who has worked with the field staff, and they are loyal to him,” said the operative. “He is the only guy who understands how this works. It is going to be a huge shock when he leaves."
In Jolly’s resignation letter, which was addressed to "Mr. Trump" and was reviewed by POLITICO, the Oklahoma operative expressed his “deepest gratitude” to the candidate, declaring "I will never forget your encouragement and loyalty.” But he said he decided “it is time for me to leave the campaign and pursue education reform issues.” He praised Lewandowski, calling him “one of my best friends” and explaining he was “initially the reason I joined this campaign.”
A retired Army lieutenant colonel who served in Iraq, Jolly worked with Lewandowski at the Koch brothers-backed advocacy group Americans for Prosperity mostly on policy fights, and did not have any previous national campaign experience. Jolly was initially hired by Lewandowski to focus on Southern States that voted March 1. But he was shifted to New Hampshire ahead of that state’s critical first-in-the-nation primary after Trump’s disappointing loss to Ted Cruz in the Iowa caucuses.
Trump’s lopsided primary wins in New Hampshire on Feb. 9 and South Carolina 11 days later shocked the political establishment and put him on a trajectory to win the nomination. Those early victories “were magical and I will never forget them,” Jolly wrote to Trump.