Touring flooding, Trump moves ahead with campaign turnaround

From The Associated Press:

BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Offering consolation, expressing regret, cutting ties with a controversial aide. Donald Trump’s campaign turnaround plan on Friday featured the unorthodox candidate acting much like a conventional politician struggling to revive a presidential bid on the ropes.

Trump headed to flood-damaged Louisiana to express solidarity with residents cleaning up after devastating flooding that left at least 13 people dead. The trip made for a pointed contrast to President Barack Obama and Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, who both have yet to go, although Obama announced later Friday that he would visit next week.

The typically brash and spotlight-seeking billionaire offered notably restrained remarks as he surveyed the waterlogged wreckage.

“Nobody understands how bad it is,” Trump told reporters, after briefly helping unload a truck of supplies while cameras captured the moment. “It’s really incredible, so I’m just here to help.”

Yet the trip did little to obscure the turmoil in Trump’s campaign, punctuated early Friday when Trump announced that he’d accepted campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s offer to resign.

Manafort’s departure followed a string of revelations about his work for a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine. The damaging news included an Associated Press report Thursday describing a covert Washington lobbying operation run by Manafort’s firm. Manafort and his deputy, Rick Gates, never disclosed their work as foreign agents as required under federal law.

Trump, in a statement, praised Manafort’s work on the campaign and called him a “true professional.” But his son, Eric Trump, made clear the controversy was behind the resignation. His father didn’t want to be “distracted by whatever things Paul was dealing with,” the younger Trump told Fox News.

Campaign spokesman Jason Miller said Gates would remain part …

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