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Donald Trump’s new campaign manager has million-dollar ties to dictators

What does this say about Donald Trump?


Patrick Howell O'Neill


Posted on May 19, 2016   Updated on May 26, 2021, 6:10 pm CDT

The brand new chairman of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign has a history of lobbying for some of the world’s most controversial regimes.

Paul Manafort is well known for lobbying on behalf of Filipino dictator Ferdinand Marcos, pro-Putin Ukrainian politician Viktor Yanukovych, Zaire dictator Mobutu Sese Seko, and Angolan rebel leader and accused human rights abuser Jonas Savimbi.

For more than five years, Manafort lobbied for a group charged with operating as a front for Pakistan’s intelligence service, a Yahoo News investigation found earlier this year.

The well-known lobbyist made millions of dollars total for all these high-profile global efforts.

Manafort began his political career in the U.S. working for Gerald Ford’s presidential campaign in 1976. 

His most well-known work was running Ronald Reagan’s Southern strategy in 1980, a racially charged campaign that began in racially tinged Philadelphia, Mississippi—a city most famous for the abduction and murder of civil rights workers.

Trump and Manafort have been working together for decades, beginning in the 1990s when Manafort advised the casino magnate during his campaign against Native American casinos who could rival Trump’s own.

In 2008, Republican candidate John McCain considered Manafort to manage the Republican National Convention but cancelled the plans because of Manafort’s ties to Putin, who McCain called a “totalitarian dictator.

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*First Published: May 19, 2016, 6:34 pm CDT