Trump revamps team, won’t change to nice guy

  • Yashwant Raj, Hindustan Times, Washington
  • Updated: Aug 18, 2016 09:04 IST
Donald Trump looks out at Lake Michigan during a visit to the Milwaukee County War Memorial Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on Tuesday. (REUTERS)

Donald Trump announced a major overhaul of his campaign team Wednesday signalling, among other things, he will run the rest of his campaign as he has in the past, being himself.

There will be no pivot to a nicer, gentler, less abrasive and more presidential nominee that many of his advisers were pushing him towards in recent days to set right his faltering campaign.

“They are extremely capable, highly qualified people who love to win and know how to win,” Trump said about his new hires, adding they continue “to share my message and vision”

Stephen K Bannon, executive chairman of conservative news site Breitbart, joins the campaign as CEO and Kellyanne Conway, who was already with Trump, is his new campaign manager.

Paul Manafort, the campaign chairman who was pushing Trump to become a more disciplined nominee in the mould of traditional politicians, is widely being seen to have been demoted.

This was the second major shake-up in Trump’s campaign in recent months. Manafort was the winner of the last one, getting rid of the then campaign manager Corey Lewandowski.

Lewandowski’s ouster was meant to end an approach he had pushed—Let Trump be Trump, a plain-speaking outsider, not afraid to sound politically incorrect and go off-message.

It had served the real-estate magnate well during the primaries, resonating with the Republican party base disappointed by their traditional leaders, but not as he segued to the general election.

He had to pivot, Trump agreed with his family and advisers. But whatever he tried next didn’t work. He kept getting into one controversy after another, including the feud with the Khans, parents of a slain Muslim American soldier.

He gave up, or so it seemed, tweeting on Sunday, “I am who I am.”

The same day, he would meet Bannon and Conway and ask them how they could help his campaign directly.

He announced their appointment on Wednesday. 

Bannon, who was once called the “most dangerous political operative in America” by Bloomberg Politics, has pushed the nominee to continue as an outsider with a populist appeal.

And Conway, a pollster and strategist who was already working with the Trump campaign, is expected to help the campaign with women and suburban voters as campaign manager.

Also, as Richard Grenell, a Republican strategists pointed out to Hindustan Times, “Putting a woman (Conway) in charge of the campaign shows real change for Republicans.”

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