Casino mogul and Trump ally Steve Wynn has resigned as finance chairman of the Republican National Committee amid allegations of sexual harassment and assault, several news outlets reported Saturday.
RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel said she accepted Wynn’s departure on Saturday, Politico reports.
“Today I accepted Steve Wynn’s resignation as Republican National Committee Finance Chair,” she said in a statement.
In a statement announcing his resignation, Wynn called the controversy a “distraction.”
“Effective today I am resigning as Finance Chairman of the RNC,” Wynn said in the statement Saturday. “The unbelievable success we have achieved must continue. The work we are doing to make America a better place is too important to be impaired by this distraction. I thank the President for the opportunity to serve and wish him continued success.”
The decision comes after The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that a number of women say they were harassed or assaulted by the casino mogul. One case led to a $7.5 million settlement with a manicurist after Wynn allegedly forced her to have sex with him. The detailed report describes accounts from several female employees.
RNC committee members were told about his resignation Saturday, and a White House official said President Donald Trump was apprised of Wynn’s decision to resign.
Trump hand-picked Wynn for the position, but he supported Wynn’s decision to step down, the official said, in hopes of minimizing any political damage.
It’s a crucial time for fundraising for the GOP as they head into the 2018 midterm elections. Wynn has been a prolific Republican donor and led the RNC’s fundraising efforts during President Trump’s first year.
The heat was turned up on Republicans to return donations from the Las Vegas mogul, as the nation continues to face a reckoning over sexual harassment and the RNC backed controversial Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore in the state’s special election. But Republicans are refusing to return the money.
Just this election cycle, Wynn has given $100,000 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee. He has also contributed thousands of dollars to the campaigns of Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada, and special election victors Reps. Greg Gianforte of Montana and Karen Handel of Georgia.
Wynn spoke just last week at Mar-a-Lago at a Republican fundraiser, where he noted that he was personally tapped by Trump to serve as the finance chair.