Trump shakes up struggling campaign

Reuters News
Posted: Aug 17, 2016 5:05 AM

By Caren Bohan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump moved to overhaul his troubled campaign on Wednesday, hiring the head of conservative website Breitbart News as chief executive officer and promoting a seasoned political operative to a senior role.

Breitbart News Executive Chairman Stephen Bannon has become CEO, the Trump campaign said in a statement. It also said Kellyanne Conway, who has been advising it, will take on the role of campaign manager.

The leadership changes come as opinion polls show Trump, a wealthy New York businessman who has never held elected office, falling behind Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton in the race for the Nov. 8 election.

Trump has been facing a barrage of criticism from Republicans over his freewheeling campaign style and his refusal to stick to a policy message.

He came under fire for his prolonged feud with the Muslim family of a U.S. soldier who was killed in the line of duty in Iraq and his unfounded accusation that President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were co-founders of the Islamic State militant group. Trump later backed off the comments about Islamic State.

The campaign's announcement quotes Trump as saying he was “committed to doing whatever it takes to win” the election.

The staff changes, first reported in the Wall Street Journal, mark the second time in two months Trump has made a major shift in the leadership of his campaign. In June, he fired longtime aide Corey Lewandowski as campaign manager and handed more power to senior campaign aide Paul Manafort.

The statement from the Trump campaign said Manafort would remain on as campaign chairman and chief strategist.

The campaign also said it would make its first major television ad purchase later this week.

(This version of the story corrects day of week in first paragraph from Thursday)

(Reporting by Caren Bohan; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)