Trump shakes up staff, intent on finishing race on own terms

From The Associated Press:

NEW YORK (AP) — Frustrated with his troubled candidacy, Donald Trump is hinging his presidential hopes on a risky bet: that the fiery populism and freewheeling style that won him the Republican nomination give him a better shot at the White House than uniting his party and rallying moderate voters.

Trump underscored that conviction Wednesday with a staff overhaul at his campaign’s highest levels, the second shake-up in the past two months. The Republican nominee tapped Stephen Bannon – a combative conservative media executive with no presidential campaign experience – to serve as CEO of his White House bid.

Pollster Kellyanne Conway, who has known Trump for years and gained his trust during her brief tenure working for the businessman, will serve as campaign manager.

The moves are aimed in part at marginalizing campaign chairman Paul Manafort, a longtime Republican operative who pushed Trump to moderate his tone and improve relations with skeptical Republican officials. In breaking with that approach, Trump appears set on finishing the race on his own terms- win or lose.

Manafort’s past work for a pro-Russian Ukrainian political party has also become a potential liability for Trump. The Associated Press reported Wednesday that Manafort helped the party secretly route at least $2.2 million in payments to a pair of prominent Washington lobbying firms.

While Manafort maintains his title, Trump allies made clear Bannon will be overseeing the campaign staff and operations.

“He believes he should stay true to what got him this far,” said David Bossie, the leader of a pro-Trump super PAC. “It’s essentially, ‘dance with the one who brung ya.'”

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