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US election 2016: Trump overhauls campaign team again

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Donald Trump in Wisconsin, 16 Aug

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has overhauled his election campaign team for the second time in two months, bringing in a new manager and CEO.

Pollster Kellyanne Conway becomes campaign manager and Stephen Bannon of Breitbart News the CEO. Paul Manafort remains as campaign chairman.

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.

Speaking to Associated Press news agency about Mr Bannon, executive chairman of the politically conservative news and opinion website Breitbart, and Ms Conway, Mr Trump said: “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.”

AP 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 BannonImage copyrightAP
Image captionStephen Bannon is a “winner”, Mr Trump said

An article in Bloomberg in October last year described Mr Bannon as “the most dangerous political operative in America”.

Mr Bannon says his role at Breitbart is “virulently anti-establishment”.

Ms Conway has previously worked for Republican politicians Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich.

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.

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.”

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.


[Source: BBC]
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