Trump shakes up campaign team

NEW YORK • Mr Donald Trump has shaken up his campaign staff amid sliding poll numbers and signs of disarray.

The Republican presidential nominee has made senior adviser Kellyanne Conway his campaign manager, and Mr Stephen Bannon, executive chairman of right-wing website Breitbart News, has been brought in as the campaign's chief executive.

"I want to win," Mr Trump told The Wall Street Journal after disclosing the staff changes. "That's why I'm bringing on fantastic people who know how to win and love to win."

Some reports suggested the moves were an effective demotion for Mr Paul Manafort, although he will remain as campaign chairman. The Washington Post cited campaign aides as saying that while Mr Trump respected Mr Manafort, he felt "boxed in" and "controlled" by people "who barely know him".

Mr Manafort was forced to deny any impropriety this week after The New York Times reported that his name was on secret ledgers showing cash payments designated to him of more than US$12 million (S$16.1 million) from a Ukrainian political party with close ties to Russia.

Ms Conway denied the staff changes constituted a shake-up.

"It's an expansion at a busy time in the final stretch of the campaign," she told The New York Times. "We met as the 'core four' today," she added, referring to herself, Mr Bannon, Mr Manafort and Mr Manafort's deputy Rick Gates.

"It is imperative we continue to expand our team with top-tier talent," Mr Manafort said in a news release. "Steve and Kellyanne are respected professionals who believe in Mr Trump and his message and will undoubtedly help take the campaign to new levels of success."

The shake-up comes as opinion polls show Mr Trump falling behind Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. An NBC News/Survey Monkey poll this week gave Mrs Clinton a six-point lead over Mr Trump, 43 per cent to 37 per cent, with two minor party candidates securing a combined 15 per cent.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, BLOOMBERG

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 18, 2016, with the headline 'Trump shakes up campaign team'. Print Edition | Subscribe