Trump shakes up senior campaign staff
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has again shaken up his senior campaign staff, appointing a conservative website executive and a pollster to head his team amid sinking poll numbers, news reports early Wednesday said.
Stephen Bannon, executive chairman of the influential Breitbart News site, will serve as the campaign’s chief executive.
Trump senior advisor Kellyanne Conway, a longtime Republican pollster, will become campaign manager.
The moves were first reported by the Wall Street Journal.
Paul Manafort, the Trump campaign chairman who in recent days has come under scrutiny for his links to the pro-Russia former president of Ukraine, will remain in his current role, the reports said.
“I want to win,” Trump told the Wall Street Journal on Tuesday night after disclosing the staffing changes. “That’s why I’m bringing on fantastic people who know how to win and love to win.”
Conway confirmed the moves to The New York Times, but denied they constituted a shake-up.
“It’s an expansion at a busy time in the final stretch of the campaign,” she told the newspaper.
“We met as the ‘core four’ today,” she was quoted as saying, referring to herself, Bannon, Manafort and Manafort’s deputy Rick Gates.
With 82 days to go until the election, Trump’s campaign has been listing badly following a recent series of gaffes that had even members of his own party begging him to reel in the brash remarks.
Trump’s denigration of the family of a fallen Muslim-American soldier was seen by many as a monumental campaign misstep and a turning point in the contentious 2016 presidential race.
According to a NBC News/Survey Monkey poll released Tuesday, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton holds a six-point lead over Trump, 43 percent to his 37 percent, with two minor party candidates securing a combined 15 percent.
In June, Trump dumped his then-campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, who had been credited with the real estate magnate’s initial breakthrough in the primaries.
But in the lead-up to the Republican Party convention, Lewandowski found himself sidelined by more experienced political operatives like Manafort.
Lewandowski had also attracted distracting controversy following a run-in with a Breitbart News reporter at a Trump rally who accused him of roughly grabbing her arm.