Trump has tapped Stephen Bannon of Breitbart News to serve as chief executive of the campaign. Pollster Kellyanne Conway was promoted to campaign manager. Paul Manafort will stay on as Trump’s campaign chairman. The Wall Street Journal first reported the news.
“I have known Steve and Kellyanne both for many years,” Trump said in a statement. “They are extremely capable, highly qualified people who love to win and know how to win.”
Bannon has been in charge of Breitbart News for a period in which it has been a strong platform for the kind of populism and fierce opposition to illegal immigration that gave rise to Trump’s candidacy in the Republican primaries. A campaign release highlighted that Bloomberg Politics has called Bannon the “most dangerous political operative in America.”
Since the Republican and Democratic conventions last month, Trump has been losing ground in both national and swing-state polls. NPR’s latest analysis of the electoral map suggests if the election were held today, Democratic rival Hillary Clinton would have a clear path to the White House, even if she were to lose the most closely contested states.
Republicans have complained about Trump’s repeated stumbles, including his fight with the Gold Star family of a Muslim Army captain who was killed in Iraq and his claim last week that President Obama is the “founder” of ISIS.
Trump appeared somewhat more disciplined in recent days, largely sticking to his script during a counterterrorism speech in Ohio on Monday and a law-and-order address outside Milwaukee on Tuesday night.
Manafort came under scrutiny this week after the New York Times reported that his name had appeared in a ledger of under-the-table payments made by former Ukraine President Viktor Yanukovych’s party. Manafort, however, dismissed the idea that he’d accepted cash payments for …