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 said yesterday.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.
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.
The news 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, a former Goldman Sachs banker, has been a cheerleader for Trump’s campaign for months and was critical of Republican leaders, including Ryan. 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 Governor 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 stuck to the large rallies and attention-grabbing comments that appealed to the Republican Party base.
“You know, I am who I am,” he told a television station on Tuesday. “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.”