Presidential candidate Donald Trump has shuffled the management at his campaign, elevating two associates to top positions.
Executive chairman of Breitbart News Stephen K. Bannon will be the campaign’s chief executive and pollster Kellyanne Conway will take over as campaign manager.
The move signals Trump’s unhappiness with the management and direction of Paul Manafort, the former acting campaign manager. Trump favors a more “combative style.”
Trump’s stunning decision effectively ended the months-long push by campaign chairman Paul Manafort to moderate Trump’s presentation and pitch for the general election. And it sent a signal, perhaps more clear than ever, that the real-estate mogul intends to finish this race on his own terms, with friends who share his instincts at his side.
While Manafort, a seasoned operative who joined the campaign in March, will remain in his role, the advisers described his status internally as diminished due to Trump’s unhappiness and restlessness in recent weeks.
An anonymous campaign aide said that Trump has been feeling “boxed in” and “controlled” by his current campaign staff. Trump wants to get back to the “let Trump be Trump” style of his early primary, when ousted campaign operative Corey Lewandowski was calling the shots.
Bannon, in phone calls and meetings, has been urging Trump for months to not mount a fall campaign that makes Republican donors and officials comfortable, the aides said. Instead, Bannon has been telling Trump to run more fully as an outsider and an unabashed nationalist.
Trump has listened intently to Bannon and agreed with him, believing that voters will ultimately want a presidential candidate who represents disruption more than a candidate with polished appeal, the aides said.
“I want to win,” Trump told the Wall Street Journal. “That’s why I’m bringing on fantastic people who know how to win and love to win.”
“Buckle up,” wrote a Trump strategist in a text message Wednesday to The Washington Post.