US election 2016: Trump overhauls campaign team again

St. James Catholic Primary School, Sabo-Oke, Ilorin, Kwara State in a state of dilapidation. PHOTO: BIOLA AZEEZ

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has overhauled his campaign team for the second time in two months, with two new leaders.

Pollster Kellyanne Conway becomes campaign manager and Stephen Bannon of Breitbart News the CEO. Paul Manafort remains campaign chairman, but analysts say he has effectively been demoted.

Mr Trump told AP the new leaders were “terrific people… they’re champs”.

Mr Trump has seen his poll ratings slip since the party conventions last month.

He trails Democratic Party candidate Hillary Clinton both nationally and in key battleground states, BBC said.

The latest shake-up comes just 82 days before the election.

On his website, Mr Trump said: “I have known Steve and Kellyanne both for many years. They are extremely capable, highly qualified people who love to win and know how to win.”

The Associated Press news agency said the details of the new hierarchy were hammered out at a lengthy senior staff meeting at Trump Tower on Tuesday and that more senior appointments were expected in the coming days.

Battered in the polls, Donald Trump has shaken up his campaign yet again, but don’t expect a kinder, gentler candidate anytime soon.

Many senior Republicans want him rein in his impulsive outbursts and soften his rough edges to appeal to more voters, especially women and independents.

However, Mr Trump’s appointment of Stephen Bannon, an unabashed right-wing firebrand, to lead his campaign seems to signal that more controversy is ahead, not less.

The reshuffle suggests that while he recognises a change is needed, the New York billionaire won’t be the one changing.

“I don’t wanna change. Everybody talks about, ‘Oh well, you’re gonna pivot, you’re gonna’ — I don’t wanna pivot. I mean, you have to be you. If you start pivoting, you’re not being honest with people,” Mr Trump said.

The new appointments come ahead of the Trump team’s first major TV advertisements, due to start this week.

Although Mr Manafort stays in his job, analysts say the new appointments, which come two months after campaign manager Corey Lewandowski was sacked, represent a demotion.

The Washington Post cited Trump campaign aides as saying Mr Trump respected Mr Manafort but felt “boxed in” by people “who barely knew him”.

Mr Manafort, a former adviser to George HW Bush and Bob Dole, only joined the Trump campaign in March.