Presidential races

Who’s who in Trump world

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There’s no question that Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump calls the shots on his campaign.

But any candidate needs an organization, and the billionaire businessman has begun to assemble a deeper team as he seeks to compete in the early primary states.

{mosads}Here are ten key members of Team Trump.

Michael Glassner, national political director

Trump’s hire of Glassner grabbed headlines — especially since Glassner’s old boss was Sarah Palin.

Glassner acted as the 2008 GOP vice presidential candidates’s top adviser, and helped her become a national voice for the Tea Party even after the defeat of her ticket.

It’s worth noting that Palin came to Trump’s defense after he found himself in political hot water for comments he made about Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) military service.

Glassner also worked in Bush-world, advising George W. Bush’s 2000 campaign.

A political veteran, Glassner has worked on campaigns for more than 30 years.

He worked on two presidential campaigns with Sen. Bob Dole (R-Kan.) — to whom he served as a senior adviser in the Senate — in both 1988 and 1996. 

Corey Lewandowski, campaign manager

Lewandowski frequently speaks on behalf of the Trump campaign in the press.

He comes from a conservative economic background, having served as a regional director for Americans for Prosperity and helping to launch New Hampshire’s chapter.

That highlights his understanding of the political map in the Granite State, where Trump is now topping polls.

“[He’s] described as a political bomb thrower,” said Democratic strategist Jim Manley.

Chuck Laudner, Iowa political director

When Trump hired Laudner earlier this year, it was seen as a sign that Trump was taking his presidential bid seriously.

Laudner built Rick Santorum’s ground-game in 2012 for Iowa, helping the former GOP Pennsylvania senator win the Iowa caucus.

Now in Iowa, Laudner is managing a team of more than ten full-time staffers.

Hope Hicks, communications director.

Hicks has served as a liaison between the media and Trump’s campaign and business enterprises.

She fields dozens — sometimes hundreds — of media requests daily and has been described as Trump’s “political gatekeeper.”

Prior to joining Trump-world, Hicks worked in public relations in New York City. The Washington Post noted that one of Hicks’ first boss was Matthew Hiltzik, a Democratic operative who has deep ties to Hollywood.

Matt Ciepielowski, New Hampshire state director

Ciepielowski also comes from AFP, where he worked with Lewandowski as the group’s  New Hampshire state director.

He has deep ties on the ground in New Hampshire, having managed field operations for AFP’s more than 30,000 registered members in the state.

Ciepielowski also has ties to former-Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas). He served as the libertarian presidential candidate’s regional coordinator for youth voters during the 2012 campaign. Paul finished second in the New Hampshire primary that year, in large part because he captured the imagination of a younger generation of Republican voters.

Ivanka, Donald Jr. and Eric Trump

Trump’s adult children have emerged as successful business entrepreneurs in their own right, with each serving as executive vice presidents at the Trump Organization.

Strategists note that they reflect a quiet professionalism in their public images — a stark contrast to their dad’s firebrand persona that could help humanize his image.

Ivanka, who is reportedly friends with Chelsea Clinton and is married to rising real estate star and New York Observer owner Jared Kushner, introduced her father at his campaign launch. She and her siblings have defended to him as he has courted controversy.

“There’s no better person than my father to have in your corner when you’re facing tough opponents or making hard decisions. He is battle tested. He is a dreamer, but perhaps more importantly, he is a doer,” Ivanka Trump said at the time. 

Ivanka has a lifestyle women’s brand, which is prominently on display next to her father’s tie collection in the lobby of Manhattan’s Trump Tower.

Timothy Jost, campaign treasurer

Jost is named on each of Trump’s campaign filing disclosure forms.

Trump has said that he’s willing to use a hefty amount of his $400 million in annual income to self-finance his campaign, which could make Jost’s job even more crucial in the months ahead.

Jost was Romney’s assistant treasurer during the 2012 campaign, having worked for Romney for more than five years prior.

Jost has since worked for Red Curve Solutions, an elections compliance company. According to his online biography, he has worked for several congressional and gubernatorial campaigns.

Jeff Taillon, South Carolina political director

Taillon is a seen as a rising star in Republican circles, said one GOP strategist not affiliated with the Trump campaign.

If Trump does well in Iowa and New Hampshire, Taillon’s efforts will be key in South Carolina.

Prior to joining the Trump campaign, Taillon was the campaign manager for Henry McMaster’s successful South Carolina lieutenant governor campaign in 2012.

Taillon got his start as South Carolina Gov. Nikke Haley’s (R) advance director. He started as Haley’s press assistant.

Ryan Keller, Iowa deputy state director.

Keller could prove to be Laudner’s right-hand man on the ground in Iowa.

He was a deputy director for Iowa’s Republican Party before joining Trump’s campaign.

Trump’s campaign touted his “life-long Iowan” roots. Keller worked on Rick Perry’s 2012 campaign in Iowa, where the former Texas governor finished fourth.

Michael Cohen, special counsel to Trump

Cohen has been a long-time aide to Trump, but he found himself facing the national media glare last month when he defended his boss to a Daily Beast reporter in a story about rebuffed allegations of sexual misconduct against Trump.
Cohen has since publicly apologized for telling the Daily Beast that “you cannot rape your spouse” and has repeatedly said that he does not believe that statement. “As an attorney, husband and father there are many injustices that offend me but nothing more than charges of rape or racism. They hit me at my core,” Cohen said in an apology statement to CNN.

Cohen has served as a media liaison to Trump, helping to coordinate interviews. And he has also appeared on television defending Trump’s campaign, but his public appearances have dwindled following the controversy.



Tags Corey Lewandowski Donald Trump Hope Hicks Michael Glassner

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