WASHINGTON • In making one of the most scrutinised decisions of his political career, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump relied on his three most trusted advisers: his children.
For months, Mr Trump had heard arguments from his closest confidants, as well as potential donors, that his insurgent campaign had outgrown its campaign manager Corey Lewandowski.
But the billionaire businessman did not decide on removing him until after a Monday morning meeting with his eldest child Donald Jr, 39, who along with his siblings Ivanka, 34, and Eric, 33, had grown increasingly worried about their father's political campaign.
They had watched with concern over the past two weeks as their father's presidential bid foundered, urging him to adopt a different tone on the campaign trail. A pivot to the general election did not come easily, however, with self-inflicted wounds by the candidate, missed opportunities to attack Democratic challenger Hillary Clinton and reports of feuding among staff members dominating headlines.
A Bloomberg poll last week showed Mr Trump trailing Mrs Clinton by 12 percentage points.
While shying away from discussing politics publicly, Mr Trump's adult children have made their views known to their father for months on a "daily" basis - and sometimes an "hourly" one in the case of the presumptive Republican nominee's namesake, Mr Donald Trump Jr.
"Were we involved in talking about this with him? Sure," Mr Trump Jr said in an interview with Bloomberg TV's With All Due Respect, referring to the Lewandowski decision.
"He (Mr Trump) was coming to that on his own. We were there to help augment that and really think it through with him."
But Mr Trump told NBC's Today on Monday that reports of his children's role in ousting Mr Lewandowski were "absolutely nonsense".
The role for Mr Trump's three oldest children emerged in interviews with several people with direct knowledge of the campaign who requested anonymity.
While serving as executive vice-presidents within the Trump Organisation, Mr Trump's children also advise him on a gamut of issues facing a candidate for the highest office in the land: from staffing and fundraising to political strategy and policy ideas.
They retain no official titles with the campaign, yet their travel expenses are paid by it.
In an interview with Bloomberg ahead of February's Iowa Caucus, Mr Trump Jr joked about the possibility of joining a Trump administration.
"The big joke over the holidays was maybe Department of Interior because of my love for the outdoors," he said, laughing. "But the only problem is that they joked I'd go off into Alaska and never be seen again."