NEWS BRIEF By the Clinton campaign’s guess, the notion of a Donald Trump pivot is absolutely, unequivocally dead. Their evidence? Trump’s appointment of Stephen Bannon, the executive chairman of the conservative website Breitbart News, as his campaign’s new CEO.
“After several failed attempts to pivot into a more serious and presidential mode, Donald Trump has decided to double-down on his most small, nasty, and divisive instincts by turning his campaign over to someone who’s best known for running a so-called news site,” Robby Mook, Clinton’s campaign manager, told reporters on a press call Wednesday. He accused Breitbart of peddling in racism, Islamophobia, and anti-Semitism. With Bannon now in leadership, the GOP establishment’s quest to “clean” Trump up is over, Mook suggested, and the candidate has “won the fight to let Trump be Trump.”
Bannon’s appointment wasn’t the only hierarchal shift the Trump campaign announced Wednesday, after news of forthcoming changes broke overnight. Kellyanne Conway, a professional pollster and Trump adviser, had been promoted to campaign manager.
This reshuffling will change, for the second time, which staffers have Trump’s ear as the general election continues. Campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who will stay in his position, had taken over from Corey Lewandowski after he was fired in June. But Manafort won’t have the same authority he once did: According to anonymous aides who spoke with The Washington Post, Wednesday’s changes leave Manafort with a “diminished” role, “due to Trump’s unhappiness and restlessness in recent weeks over his drop in the polls and reports over lagging organization in several key states.” Manafort’s political consulting for pro-Russian forces has also come under scrutiny in the past week.