Here is the who’s who of Trump’s trusted lieutenants

  • Yashwant Raj, Hindustan Times, Washington
  • Updated: Aug 21, 2016 21:24 IST
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump arrives for a campaign event at Fredericksburg Expo Center on Saturday. (AFP)

The revolving door at the Trump Tower spun once again last week for yet another shakeup of the Republican’s chaotic presidential campaign team.

This time, it was to welcome Stephen Bannon, a hard-charging media executive, as chief executive of Donald Trump’s campaign.

Kellyanne Conway, a pollster who supported his rival Ted Cruz in the primaries, was promoted as campaign manager.

On Friday, the sidelined campaign chairman Paul Manafort, a former lobbyist whose links to Ukraine came under fresh scrutiny, left through the same door.

Just two months ago, Manafort had engineered the ouster of the then campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski.

Trump’s circle of advisers has been a work in progress, constantly in a flux, with less than three months left for the polls.

Trump Family

His wife Melania has been a reluctant campaigner, but Trump’s three adults children, Don, Ivanka and Eric form a tight-knit group of advisers, with Ivan’s husband Jared Kushner, also a real-estate businessman, receiving maximum attention.

He has been called the de facto campaign manager after engineering Lewandowski’s ouster.

Kushner, a boyish 35-year-old, is believed to have stopped Trump from picking Chris Christie as his running mate, because the New Jersey governor had as US attorney in 2005 brought down Kushner’s father Charles Kushner and thrown him in jail.

Kushner, who is Jewish, also helped his father-in-law reach out to the powerful Jewish lobby, and helped him deal with blowback from an anti-semitic re-tweet.

Campaign Team

Chief executive Stephen Bannon, who headed ultra-conservative Breitbart News, is a colorful and combative figure much in the mold of Trump himself.

He has been a harsh critic of the party establishment and has encouraged Trump to run as himself, an outsider with a strong populist message and appeal.

Campaign manager Kellyanne Conway is a veteran Republican party pollster and strategist who had headed a political action group backing Tex Cruz during primaries.

Shadow Advisers

The ousted head of Fox News Roger Ailes, who has been a long-time friend, is said to be helping the nominee prepare for the debates. Ailes brings a formidable reputation and experience, having helped three Republican presidents before: Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and George H W Bush. He is best known for making Nixon, a very awkward candidate , acceptable. Roger Stone, a long-time party operative, is often called the “dirty trickster” . He is supposed to be close to Trump despite leaving the campaign last August.

Despite throwing him out, Trump continues to consult Lewandowski regularly, as perhaps the most steadfast supporter of the Let-Trump-Be-Trump approach.

Transition Team

Chris Christie, a long time friend of Trump, heads the transition team which would lay the groundwork for Trump’s presidency if he wins. He has been a close adviser and was shortlisted as a potential running mate before Trump chose Mike Pence.

A former proesecutor, Christie is often spoken of as a possible attorney general in a Trump administration. He famously led the chanting of “Lock her up” at the Cleveland party convention, calling for a trial of Hillary Clinton.

Foreign Policy Team

When asked about his foreign policy advisers, Trump once cited himself as one, saying he has a pretty good brain. That may still be true, but he has since acquired real advisers with some real experience. Senator Jeff Sessions, one of the nominee’s earliest backers, heads the campaign’s foreign policy shop and shapes his belligerent views on immigration.

Retired general Micheal Flynn, who headed the Defense Intelligence Agency, was one of the few national security experts to have backed the Republican nominee, and has been called Trump’s favourite general. He accompanied the nominee to his first intelligence briefing this week.

Economic Team

A 13-member group of billionaires led by Stephen Mnuchin, with no women. Another billionaire friend Carl Icahn, who was frequently mentioned by Trump on the campaign trail, was left out to start a political action committee in support of the nominee.


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