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Wednesday, 17 August 2016

US election 2016: Trump overhauls campaign team again

Donald Trump in Wisconsin, 16 AugImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionMr Trump has seen his poll ratings slip since the party conventions last month

Pollster Kellyanne Conway becomes campaign manager and Stephen Bannon of Breitbart News the CEO. Paul Manafort remains campaign chairman, but analysts say he has effectively been demoted.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has overhauled his campaign team for the second time in two months, with two new leaders.
Mr Trump told AP the new leaders were "terrific people... they're champs".
Mr Trump has seen his poll ratings slip since the party conventions last month.
He trails Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton both nationally and in key battleground states.

'I don't want to change'

The latest shake-up comes just 82 days before the election.
On his website, Mr Trump said: "I have known Steve and Kellyanne both for many years. They are extremely capable, highly qualified people who love to win and know how to win."
The Associated Press news agency said the details of the new hierarchy were hammered out at a lengthy senior staff meeting at Trump Tower on Tuesday and that more senior appointments were expected in the coming days.

Stephen Bannon

Stephen BannonImage copyrightAP

The executive chairman of Breitbart has himself described his role there as "virulently anti-establishment", views that have led the website into staunch support of Mr Trump.
An article in Bloomberg in October last year described Mr Bannon as "the most dangerous political operative in America" - a phrase Mr Trump's own website was happy to repeat in announcing his appointment.
He will temporarily step down from Breitbart to work on the campaign full time and is expected to lead a highly aggressive strategy.

The new appointments come ahead of the Trump team's first major TV advertisements, due to start this week.
Although Mr Manafort stays in his job, analysts say the new appointments, which come two months after campaign manager Corey Lewandowski was sacked, represent a demotion.
The Washington Post cited Trump campaign aides as saying Mr Trump respected Mr Manafort but felt "boxed in" by people "who barely knew him".
Mr Manafort, a former adviser to George HW Bush and Bob Dole, only joined the Trump campaign in March.

Kellyanne Conway

Pollster Kellyanne ConwayImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES

Ms Conway has experience with political campaigns, having previously worked with former Vice-President Dan Quayle and former House speaker Newt Gingrich.
In a Republican press release last month, Ms Conway was said to be widely regarded as "an expert on female consumers and female voters".
Her ability to accurately predict election results in the past has won her awards.

Mr Trump has been pressed by some Republicans to tone down his fiery rhetoric in the wake of a number of controversial comments in the past two weeks and the subsequent drop in poll ratings.
But Mr Trump appears to want to stand by the campaign style that won him the Republican nomination.
He said on Tuesday: "You know, I am who I am. It's me. I don't want to change.
"Everyone talks about, 'Oh, well you're going to pivot, you're going to.' I don't want to pivot. I mean, you have to be you. If you start pivoting, you're not being honest with people."

What is Breitbart?

Politically conservative news and opinion website based in California, with sections in London, Jerusalem and Texas.
Founded in 2007 by Andrew Breitbart, the conservative commentator who had worked on the Drudge Report and Huffington Post, among others. He died of heart failure in March 2012.
Key stories include:
  • Shirley Sherrod case. Breitbart posted excerpts of a speech appearing to suggest racist remarks by a Georgia agriculture official. She was sacked but a full transcript revealed the comments not to be racist. Breitbart later settled a lawsuit
  • Anthony Weiner sexting scandals: Played a key role in publishing text and photos in the so-called Weinergate affair that eventually led to the resignation of the New York congressman

Mr Manafort has had a troubled week, following a report in the New York Times that ledgers in Ukraine showed he was earmarked for $12.7m (£9.8m) in undisclosed cash payments from the former pro-Russian government between 2007 and 2012.He denied receiving any "off-the-books cash payment".
The Trump team's alleged pro-Russia links have been a key issue of the campaign, and the latest allegations sparked a call from the Clinton campaign for a full disclosure.
Opinion polls since the national conventions have made grim reading for the Trump team, both nationally and in key states.
The national lead for the Democratic candidate is currently between seven and eight points, the polls suggest.
The New York Times said on Monday that no modern candidate trailing by this much three weeks after the conventions had won the election.
An opinion poll in the state of Virginia, carried in the Washington Post on Tuesday, gave Mrs Clinton a 14 point lead there.