Here is what Donald Trump said yesterday in response to talk about how he needed to pivot to the general election in order to overcome Clinton’s huge lead in the polls:
“You know, I am who I am,” Trump told a Wisconsin television station Tuesday. “It’s me. I don’t want to change. Everyone talks about, ‘Oh, well, you’re going to pivot, you’re going to.’ I don’t want to pivot. I mean, you have to be you.”
Later in the day came an announcement about the shake-up of his campaign staff.
Donald Trump, following weeks of gnawing agitation over his advisers’ attempts to temper his style, moved late Tuesday to overhaul his struggling campaign by rebuffing those efforts and elevating two longtime associates who have encouraged his combative populism.
Stephen Bannon, a former banker who runs the influential conservative outlet Breitbart News and is known for his fiercely anti-establishment politics, has been named the Trump campaign’s chief executive. Kellyanne Conway, a veteran Republican pollster who has been close to Trump for years, will assume the role of campaign manager.
Paul Manafort – who was ostensibly brought in to “professionalize” Trump’s campaign and image – will apparently stay on, but will obviously be boxed in by these changes. Knowing that there has been an ongoing feud between Manafort and Corey Lewandowski (who was fired from the campaign), this is an interesting part of the drama that is currently underway:
Another headache for Manafort: the continued hovering presence of Lewandowski, now a CNN commentator, who remains a confidant of Trump. According to Trump aides, he had a hand in prodding Trump to elevate Conway and Bannon and spoke with Trump over the weekend.
In terms of what we can expect to see from these changes, here is how Costa summed it up on twitter:
Huge rallies. Gloves off. Brutal fights with Clinton. Heavy emphasis on nationalism and populism. That's the Bannon strategy.
— Robert Costa (@costareports) August 17, 2016
In other words, Trump will continue to be Trump and not much will change (except perhaps fewer scripted teleprompter speeches).