For the second time in two months, Donald Trump is shaking things up in his presidential campaign. That’s right! Once wasn’t enough and he needed to do something to add a little spark back to his fire. Trump hired Breitbart News’ executive Stephen K. Bannon to become the Trump campaign’s chief executive. Trump also promoted a senior adviser and pollster, Kellyanne Conway, to campaign manager.
What happened to Paul Manafort? He will retain his title of “campaign chairman”, but the changes set to be formally announced this morning are really seen as demotion for Manafort. That was short-lived. Manafort, a lobbyist and political consultant just took over his reins in June after the firing of Corey Lewandowski.
Stephen Bannon, executive chairman of Breitbart News LLC, an outspoken Trump supporter and a former Goldman Sachs banker, will assume the new position of campaign chief executive. At the same time, Mr. Trump also is promoting Kellyanne Conway, a veteran GOP pollster and strategist, to become campaign manager. Ms. Conway has been a campaign adviser for several weeks.
Longtime Republican operative Paul Manafort,who joined the campaign late in the primary season, remains campaign chairman. But the reset is designed to bulk up a structure that many Republicans have complained wasn’t adequate for the rigors of the general-election campaign.
Mr. Trump’s campaign has fallen further behind Democrat Hillary Clinton in most national and battleground-state polls in recent days, and some Republicans had been hoping for a course adjustment before the traditional Labor Day kickoff of the general-election race.
“I want to win,” Mr. Trump said in an interview Tuesday night in which he disclosed his hires. “That’s why I’m bringing on fantastic people who know how to win and love to win.”
People briefed on the move said that it reflected Mr. Trump’s realization that his campaign was at a crisis point. But it indicates that the candidate — who has chafed at making the types of changes his current aides have asked for, even though he had acknowledged they would need to occur — has decided to embrace his aggressive style for the duration of the race.
Both Ms. Conway and Mr. Bannon, whose news organization has been very favorable to Mr. Trump since he entered the primaries, are close with Robert and Rebekah Mercer, the father-and-daughter conservative donors who have become allies of the candidate and are funding a “super PAC” that is working against Hillary Clinton.
Ms. Conway has past presidential experience in primary races, but the role in a general election represents a new one for her. She is well liked by Mr. Trump’s daughter Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner, who had been serving as the de facto campaign manager.