San Diego billionaire Doug Manchester, President Trump’s failed nominee for ambassador to the Bahamas, may have been involved in a possible pay-for-play scheme involving the Republican National Committee, according to an investigative report from CBS News. Manchester donated $1 million to Trump’s inauguration fund and was offered the Bahamas post the day after the president was sworn into office. Emails obtained by CBS reportedly show that Manchester, who prefers the nickname “Papa Doug,” was prompted by RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel for a $500,000 donation while his confirmation in the Senate remained unclear. Manchester’s nomination stalled in Congress for the next two years, despite a relief trip he made to the Bahamas after it was ravaged by Hurricane Dorian in September. “Did you feel like they were putting the arm on you?” reporter Jim Axelrod asked him, in an interview. “No, I didn’t. That’s part of politics. It’s unbelievable. You give and you give and you give and you give some more and more and more,” Manchester replied. He reportedly told McDaniel that he was not supposed to donate, but that his wife would send a $100,000 contribution.
“Does any part of you feel if you had just cut the check for $500,000 that you would be the ambassador to the Bahamas?” Axelrod asked. “No, because first of all, you have to get out of committee and you have to be voted on the floor,” Manchester said. “It’s a big process.” Trump formally withdrew Manchester’s nomination on Nov. 13. In a statement to CBS, a spokesman for the RNC said McDaniel “did not suggest to Mr. Manchester in any way that it would more quickly advance his confirmation if members of his family made a political contribution,” adding that “Mr. Manchester’s decision to link future contributions to an official action was totally inappropriate.” The committee has allegedly cut ties with Manchester and returned the money his family donated this year.