Donald Trump’s presidential campaign has announced two changes in the campaign’s leadership in less than two days. Two months after Trump parted company with his then Campaign Manager Corey Lewandowski and handed the reigns over to long-term Republican political operative Paul Manafort, Trump has re-organized his senior leadership team again by bringing on Breitbart News Chairman Stephen Bannon as Campaign Chief Executive Officer and veteran republican pollster Kellyanne Conway as Campaign Manager. Conway is the first woman to run a Republican presidential campaign.
The change in campaign leadership comes on the heels of Trump’s recent speeches on the economy, foreign policy and national security, and law and order. While the Trump campaign stated earlier this week that Paul Manafort will retain his position as Campaign Chairman, on August 19, Paul Manafort announced his resignation. Apparently, Manafort’s past dealings in the Ukraine, where he had been an advisor to the country’s former pro-Russia president, Viktor Yanukovich, has become an eyesore for the Trump campaign as there is growing speculation that Yanukovich made illegal payments to Manafort and Ukranian election officials.
While the left stream media is spinning the addition of Bannon and Conway to the Trump campaign as a “shake-up” in the wake of several recent polls which show Clinton with a double-digit lead over Trump in certain battleground states including Pennsylvania, the Trump campaign insists that the campaign is not in free-fall. They just want to strengthen the leadership team and facilitate Trump “being Trump”.
Bannon and Conway, while very qualified are not without controversy. Stephen Bannon, whose background includes past employment with Goldman Sachs, has taken leave of his executive duties with Breitbart News to serve as the Trump campaign’s CEO. Bannon is also the co-founder and executive chairman of the Government Accountability Institute, the organization behind Peter Schweizer’s bestselling book and film Clinton Cash: The Untold Story of How and Why Foreign Governments and Businesses Helped Make Bill and Hilary Clinton Rich. Bannon who also hosts a radio show on Sirrius, is the man whom “Bloomberg Politics” described in a profile last October as the “The Most Dangerous Political Operative in America”.
Given that moniker, one can only imagine the field day that the liberal press is going to have with Bannon spearheading the day to day operations of the Trump campaign. The New York Times has already published an article titled “Donald Trump Turns to Combative Breitbart Executive in Staff Shake-Up.” Incidentally, Bannon is reportedly volunteering with Trump campaign and will receive no compensation for his efforts.
Most Republicans are pleased with the choice of Kellyanne Conway as Trump’s Campaign Manager. Conway, who holds a law degree, launched her career as a pollster by working for Dick Wirthlin, Ronald Reagan’s pollster in the summer before she graduated from George Washington University Law School. Interestingly enough, Conway’s first assignment was to research “How the GOP could attract more women”. In 1995, Conway founded “The Polling Company/Woman Trend”, a consulting firm which focused on market research. In 2005, she co-authored the book What Women Really Want: How American Women Are Quietly Erasing Political, Racial, Class, and Religious Lines to Change the Way We Live. Conway reportedly met Trump in 2006 because she resided in one of his buildings and served on the condominium board at Trump World Tower in Manhattan. Apparently, Conway who at one point ran Senator Ted Cruz’s super PAC “Keep the Promise”, was reticent to join the Trump campaign. After meeting with Trump in March 2015, she declined his offer to work for him. However, when Cruz’s campaign ended, Conway received another call from Trump. This time her answer was yes. According to a recent article in the Washington Post, Conway does not like (Trump’s) name-calling. “She also said she wants Trump to avoid criticizing people’s looks and mental capacity.”
Given that Donald Trump is such an unconventional presidential candidate. Bannon and Conway are in many ways the perfect additions to his team. Former Trump Campaign Manager Corey Lewandowski has nothing but praise for Bannon. “Steve is a person who’s had unparalleled success in the private sector,” Lewandowski said. “He is a person who, I think a little bit like myself, is a bit of a street fighter, a person who is willing to go right at his opponents.”
As for Kellyanne Conway, she has a past track record of working for candidates who aren’t “popular with women” including former Speaker of the House and 2012 presidential candidate Newt Gingrich and Trump’s running mate, Indiana Governor Mike Pence. Furthermore, Conway clearly is a straight shooter and an excellent communicator. She is the perfect choice to help Trump nuance his communications and keep his campaign on message. While the left may be calling the Trump campaign’s organizational change a desperate shake-up, it is actually more of an A-team draft.