Donald Trump, playing to what he knows best – media – has brought in scorched-earth-er Steve Bannon to shake up his campaign, as polls show the GOP candidate sliding in key states, and news headlines showed him losing control of his narrative.
Word that the Breitbart chief exec, known for his take-no-prisoners style, had joined Camp Trump comes hours after reports ousted Fox News chief Roger Ailes was with Trump’s debate team as advice/resource/consultation/whatever. Bannon has been with Breitbart since the launch of the website that has been a virtual Trump campaign newsletter with posts about Hillary Clinton’s health, Clinton’s emails, fond looks back at Bill Clinton’s canoodling over the years, etc.
Bannon has been described, in a Bloomberg profile previously cited by the Trump campaign, as the country’s “most dangerous political operative.” (He’s also a stakeholder in comedy series Seinfeld, CNN weirdly noted.)
Today’s news guarantees, if nothing else, that the upcoming debates between Trump and Clinton are going to be the very definition of Must See TV. Sorry, NFL.
And, speaking of Fox News, Sean Hannity has a “town hall” with Trump tonight, after that clambake was “postponed” last night when Trump arrived late to deliver a campaign speech in Milwaukee. Nicely played.
Today’s Trump news, first reported by Wall Street Journal, presumably puts the final nail in any talk of the candidate “pivoting” to something more traditionally presidential and establishment-y. In a statement from the campaign Wednesday morning outlining the changes, Trump said he was willing to do “whatever it takes to win this election.” Expect hours of TV news rumination today as to how the RNC will react to today’s Trump nose-thumbing.
Ailes, a veteran campaign adviser and a master media manipulator, is widely credited with having advised/consulted/greenlit/whatever-ed Megyn Kelly’s question to Trump at the very top of the first GOP debate, on Fox News Channel. The exchange went viral before the debate hit the halfway mark, contributing mightily to that debate’s historic ratings for FNC.
That’s the question in which Kelly asked Trump, making his debate debut, if he had the temperament of someone who should be POTUS, noting he had in the past described women he does not like as “fat pigs, dogs, slobs, and disgusting animals,” and told a female competitor on NBC’s reality-TV series The Apprentice it would be a pretty picture to see her get down on her knees.
Meanwhile, veteran pollster Kellyanne Conway, a Trump senior adviser, has been upped to campaign manager. Paul Manafort has survived, as chairman, though this morning’s news would seem to be a vote of not much confidence in the exec. Manafort just two months ago won an internecine battle with then-Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, who these days serves as a contributor/Trump cheerleader at CNN.
In that capacity, Lewandowski appeared on CNN this morning to say, of the Bannon news, ” I think what you have is you’ve got a candidate who wants to win. This is a clear indication of that. If you look at Steven Bannon and what they’ve built at Breitbart, it’s win at all costs.”