Teterboro (US): Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, who has slipped in the polls in recent weeks, has shaken up his campaign again. The billionaire real estate mogul is bringing in Stephen Bannon of Breitbart News as chief executive officer and promoting pollster Kellyanne Conway to campaign manager.
“I’ve known both of them for a long time. They’re terrific people, they’re winners, they’re champs, and we need to win it,” Trump told The Associated Press in a phone interview early today.
The move comes just 82 days before the November election and represents yet another overhaul of Trump’s tumultuous quest for the White House.
In confirming the campaign overhaul, Trump called Bannon and Conway “big people” who can help him defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton in November.
Campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who formally took over the reins following the departure of Corey Lewandowski in June, will maintain his current title, Trump said.
Manafort deputy Rick Gates, who has been traveling often with Trump, is expected to maintain a senior role with the campaign.
The news, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, comes as opinion surveys show Trump trailing Clinton nationally and in a host of key battleground states following a difficult campaign stretch that saw him insulting the Muslim parents of a soldier who died in Iraq and temporarily refraining from endorsing House Speaker Paul Ryan, who was involved in a primary in his home state of Wisconsin.
In tapping Bannon for a top campaign role, Trump is doubling down on his outsider appeal rather than appeasing more traditional Republicans. The conservative Breitbart figure has been a cheerleader for Trump’s campaign for months and was critical of Republican leaders, including Ryan. Bannon is a former Goldman Sachs banker but does not bring presidential campaign experience to Trump’s White House bid.
Conway joined Trump’s campaign earlier this year as a senior adviser. A longtime Republican strategist and pollster, she has close ties to Trump’s running mate, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence.
Trump long has resisted pleas from fellow Republicans to overhaul the flame-throwing approach on the campaign trail that powered his surge to the top of the GOP field in the primary season. Instead of working to broaden his appeal, Trump has largely hewed to the large rallies and attention-grabbing comments that appealed to the Republican Party base.