Corey Stewart, the feisty Virginia chairman of the Donald Trump presidential campaign, was fired Monday after he defied a campaign directive not to participate in an afternoon protest at the Republican National Committee in Washington, Trump Virginia co-chairman John Fredericks said.
The campaign specifically asked Stewart not to join the protest, Fredericks said, which highlighted concerns that the RNC wasn’t properly funding the Trump campaign.
“He did that on his own, without approval or authorization from the Trump campaign,” Fredericks said. “Either you’re on the team or you’re not.”
Stewart did not return a request for an interview left with an aide. He’s chairman of the Prince William Board of County Supervisors and a Republican candidate for governor in 2017.
“We are not going to condone publicity stunts, counter to the campaign’s mission, in order to enhance somebody’s gubernatorial campaign position,” Fredericks said.
The Trump national campaign said Stewart acted without permission.
“We have a tremendous working relationship with the RNC,” campaign manager Kellyanne Conway said in a statement. “Chairman Reince Priebus has been an engaged and incredibly supportive ally to Mr. Trump throughout the campaign.”
No announcement has been made about a replacement for Stewart, but Fredericks said he will serve as Trump Virginia co-chairman and campaign spokesman.
Stewart wrote earlier Monday on his Facebook page, “Tons of interviews today on behalf of Mr. Trump. Then, I went to start a rebellion against GOP establishment pukes who betrayed Trump.”
Conservative website Twitchy.com posted a story and video from the protest, which includes video of Stewart from a reporter’s tweet. Stewart joined a group called Virginia Women for Trump outside the RNC.
John Whitbeck, chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia, issued a statement saying the firing was disappointing but necessary:
“Every day, hundreds of Republicans across Virginia are working hard to elect Donald Trump. This is a team effort. The Republican Party of Virginia, the Republican National Committee, and the Trump campaign are part of one team. While this turn of events is disappointing, I support the Trump campaign’s decision to remove their Virginia chairman. With less than a month until election day, we can’t afford any distractions.”
Susan Swecker, chairwoman of the Democratic Party of Virginia, issued a statement about Stewart protesting before news he was fired:
“The Republican Party is imploding nationally and Corey Stewart is leading the destruction here in Virginia. This didn’t happen overnight – Trump’s rise is a result of the Republican Party’s strategy of appealing to people’s fears. Donald Trump is a disgrace and those who stand by him and defend him will be paying the price for years to come, not just with women, but within their own party.”
This story originally appeared on PilotOnline.com.