Meet the new Team Trump

Meet the new Team Trump
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Sinking in the polls, Republican presidential nominee Donald TrumpDonald TrumpSenators introduce bipartisan infrastructure bill in rare Sunday session Gosar's siblings pen op-ed urging for his resignation: 'You are immune to shame' Sunday shows - Delta variant, infrastructure dominate MORE has entrusted his campaign to an executive with Breitbart News and a veteran GOP pollster who has worked with Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzUp next in the culture wars: Adding women to the draft Biden's bipartisan deal faces Senate gauntlet 228 Republican lawmakers urge Supreme Court to overrule Roe v. Wade MORE, Jack Kemp and Newt Gingrich.

Breitbart Executive Chairman Stephen Bannon is Trump’s new campaign CEO, which puts him in charge of a campaign that had been led by Paul Manafort, who will stay on as campaign chairman.


Pollster Kellyanne Conway, who previously served as a Trump adviser, will step in as Trump’s campaign manager. Conway has been a fixture in the last three GOP primaries and counts Indiana Gov. Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceOfficers' powerful Capitol riot testimony underscores Pelosi's partisan blunder RealClearPolitics reporter says Freedom Caucus shows how much GOP changed under Trump Want to improve vaccine rates? Ask for this endorsement MORE, Trump’s running mate, among her many clients.

The two moves come at a critical time for Trump, who trails Democratic nominee Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonClintons, Stacey Abrams meeting Texas Democrats Biden says Russia spreading misinformation ahead of 2022 elections Highest-ranking GOP assemblyman in WI against another audit of 2020 vote MORE by double digits in some key swing states and has had a disastrous August.

The shifts signal Trump’s desire to jump-start his campaign, and the hiring of Bannon in particular suggest he intends to take a no-holds-barred approach in the 80-plus days before the election.

Bannon, described in a Bloomberg profile last year as the “most dangerous political operative in America,” leads a right-wing news site that has been unapologetic in supporting Trump and attacking other Republicans — most notably Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanWisconsin GOP quietly prepares Ron Johnson backup plans RealClearPolitics reporter says Freedom Caucus shows how much GOP changed under Trump Juan Williams: Biden's child tax credit is a game-changer MORE (R-Wis.).

Ryan’s office declined to offer a comment on the hire.

Bannon is a former Navy officer who came from a Democratic household but began to embrace Reagan Republicanism after what he has described as former President Jimmy Carter’s disastrous leadership of the country.

After his military service, Bannon went to Harvard Business School and worked for Goldman Sachs in the late 1980s before launching his own boutique investment bank with a few colleagues in 1990. According to the Bloomberg profile, he made his fortune in part from falling into the entertainment industry, and accepting a stake in five television shows produced by Castle Rock Entertainment. One of the shows was “Seinfeld.”

After selling his investment firm, Bannon went to Hollywood, produced films and eventually met Andrew Breitbart, the founder of Breitbart News. Breitbart died in 2012, while Bannon was pitching investors on the site’s relaunch.

Under Bannon, Breitbart has been unabashedly pro-Trump.

The site regularly comes to Trump's defense, most recently writing a series of articles defending the business mogul's claim that President Obama was the “founder” of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria as news organizations pounced on the claim. 

The support for Trump has at times caused controversy within the organization.

Breitbart News reporter Michelle Fields and a handful of her colleagues resigned earlier this year, accusing her employers of failing to stand by her after she accused then-Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski of grabbing her arm and pulling her to the ground after a press conference.  

While the paper initially posted a story about the altercation, it soon recast the paper’s coverage into questioning Field’s accusations. 

Bannon serves on the board of the Government Accountability Institute, a conservative-leaning watchdog group whose president, Peter Schweizer, wrote the explosive book, “Clinton Cash” detailing allegations of a connection between the Clintons’ personal fortune and Hillary Clinton’s decisions at the State Department. 

But Breitbart under Bannon has also gone after Republicans hard.

In the first nine days of August, Breitbart published at least 15 stories criticizing Ryan or touting his primary challenger, Paul Nehlen, whom Ryan clobbered by almost 70 percentage points. 

The site has also been critical of Trump’s GOP opponents; a Breitbart headline from earlier this year called Bill Kristol, a Never Trump Republican who tried to organize a challenge to the billionaire candidate, as a “renegade Jew.”

Kristol fired back on Wednesday that Breitbart should be renamed “right-wing intolerant mean-spirited news.”

If Bannon is an outsider in GOP circles, Trump is turning to an insider for help in the hire of Conway.

She first met Trump 10 years ago during a stint on the condominium board at Trump’s World Tower in New York City, according to a Washington Post profile from earlier this year. 

A former lawyer, Conway reinvented her career as a pollster, founding the polling company, inc. and its subsidiary WomenTrend, which studies female consumers.  

She has worked for candidates across the GOP spectrum, including Kemp and Vice President Dan Quayle.

Conway worked for former Tennessee Sen. Fred Thompson’s presidential campaign in 2008, former Speaker Newt Gingrich’s (R-Ga.) campaign in 2012, and for a pro-Cruz super-PAC, Keep the Promise, in 2016.

The work for the super-PAC at times left Conway at odds with Trump.

In January, she hammered him for his past embrace of pro-choice policies in a statement pegged to the release of a new ad. 

“Conservatives and Republicans have a choice: should their nominee hold views more in line with Hillary Clinton or Ronald Reagan?” she said, comparing Trump to the future Democratic nominee. 

She added that it doesn’t take most Americans “15 years” to see abortion as a “barbaric practice,” unlike Trump. 

—Scott Wong contributed to this story.