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How Donald Trump plans to win the end game

Behind-the-scenes Trump campaign takes on new staff, new strategy and an overhauled structure


 
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks to supporters at his primary election night event at his Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Fla., Tuesday, March 15, 2016.  (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on Tuesday, March 15, 2016. (Gerald Herbert, AP)

NEW YORK — Even as he secured a commanding win in his home state of New York on Tuesday, Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is continuing to shake up his campaign with new staff, new strategy and an overhauled campaign structure strikingly late in the game.

After several difficult weeks marked by a series of losses, Trump sounded confident Tuesday night as he predicted victories in upcoming states that would help him clinch the nomination ahead of his party’s convention. But the win comes amid a serious campaign restructuring that has led to confusion about chains of command and less influential roles for Trump’s previously insular inner circle.

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Newly hired campaign veteran Paul Manafort’s role as convention manager has been growing behind the scenes.

“We’re in a different phase of the campaign. And being in a different phase of the campaign requires different skills,” Manafort told reporters after Trump delivered his victory speech in Manhattan. “We’re in a phase where the end game requires winning smart, meaning we have to focus on not just winning the states, but what congressional districts we win and things like that. We’re bringing that into the campaign.”

Trump last month hired Manafort, a veteran of Republican conventions, to oversee his delegate strategy as he scrambles to lock down a majority of delegates by the end of June. The campaign also announced last week that Rick Wiley, who previously managed Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s campaign, had been hired as national political director, overseeing the campaign’s field operations. The campaign is expected to announce additional hires soon.

“Not just me — he wants to bring on other people as well,” Manafort said. “We’re expanding the campaign. We’re building a campaign that’s got depth now, not just across the board.”

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But the shakeup hasn’t been embraced by all. Trump’s national field director, Stuart Jolly, tendered his resignation Monday — on the eve of New York’s crucial presidential primary. The decision was met by disappointment among many of his campaign field staffers, who viewed the departure as a significant loss.

In a telephone interview with Fox News Tuesday morning, Trump insisted that everyone on his growing staff “seems to be getting along pretty well.” But he also acknowledged the potential for bruised egos when asked how his loyal inner circle has responded to what Trump described as the addition of “very high-level people” to his team.

“When you bring other people in, I could see some people, their feelings get a little bit hurt,” he said. “But frankly, you know, we’re in a position where we’d like to see if we can close it out.”

According to people familiar with the changes, Manafort has increasingly taken on a pivotal role and has been tasked with bringing on new people with more presidential campaign experience.

Related reading: How Donald Trump happened

The changes have prompted questions about the role of Trump’s longtime campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, who was front-and-centre Tuesday night, chatting with reporters and embracing supporters after Trump’s win was announced.

“We’re growing, baby, we’re growing!” he said when asked about his role.

Manafort also brushed aside suggestions that he had become the campaign’s de-facto new manager. “We’ve divided the roles, we’re working together, Donald Trump is our boss and we’re very happy,” he said.

But the tensions are clear. While Manafort stressed a new focus on policy, with new advisers on the way, Lewandowski downplayed Trump’s plans to deliver a series of policy speeches.

Related reading: Inside the rise of Donald Trump

“I don’t think the voters really have as much concern, but I know you guys are dying for one,” he told reporters.

Trump’s eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., said earlier the changes were part of “a natural evolution in a process.”

“I think we have to adapt, we have to start transitioning for the general,” he told reporters Tuesday outside the midtown Manhattan polling centre where he cast a ballot for his father.

“It’s a very tactical change,” he added. “And I think it’s going to be very important in the campaign and the evolution of the campaign going forward.”

Since Manafort began to assert his power, Trump’s campaign has made a number of subtle but notable changes. He has been far more cautious on Twitter, has largely avoided controversy, and has spent less time on television, steering clear of the Sunday shows for two weeks running,

Manafort insisted that Trump alone was setting his own tone, however. “He’s been growing on his own,” he said.

Nonetheless, some things have remained the same.

Asked whether Lewandowski or Manafort was running the campaign, Trump Jr. said neither.

“My father. My father is always running it,” he said.

Associated Press White House Correspondent Julie Pace contributed to this report from Washington.

 


 

How Donald Trump plans to win the end game

  1. Macleans should do a rigorous systematic post audit shaming of all of the mainstream big shot commentators who were dead wrong about Trump from the very beginning, many of those fools have big reputations in the intellectual community and made hilarious declarative statements all year long against Trump….like do a two hour video and put their comments and their faces out there and hold their feet to the fire…..there is not, and is never enough about that….it is like those talking idiots on CNBC and the Canadian BNN they don’t get held accountable and they only talk about their winners and never their multiple losers…..I was a hot walker at the track as a kid and it is amazing to remember how people only talked about their winners. The second and more sinister thing: Trumps Jewish support; The press and thousands of commentators have labeled him with every pejorative name in the book from A to Z but with his Jewish relatives and the multiple number of Jewish financial backers he has, and he named a few last night at the podium, the media created a fraudulent picture against him…. That should be post audited and explained at length why this was so….how could a guy win New York like that but have CNN and many other places constantly branding him as an anti-Semite and a racist. But then it goes to another story….the real one….could he even be elected dog catcher or sheriff in a small town if he was not right wing on the military which benefits Israel.

    • Why? They made a prediction, and got it wrong. Who would want to watch a 2 hour video showing all the times George Strombolopolous dismissed him? It would make more sense to name and shame weather forecasters.

      But the fact Trump is labelled racist and still carried the Jewish vote in New York would be a worthwhile story.

  2. Of course he needs to shake up his campaign. I think he’s realized he won’t win the Republican nomination outright, so he needs to win a contested convention.

    In the early days of the campaign being bombastic and raising controversy was a good thing to stand out from the 14(?) contestants. Now, he needs to tone it down to bring enough Republicans to support him.

    If he wins the nomination, expect another shuffle as his campaign will attempt to show he can be Presidential.

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