It appears Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s campaign personnel changes signal his new attitude towards the many disgruntled party elite in the GOP; Screw you. Capitol Hill is still buzzing about Wednesdays major shifts in the sinking Trump campaign.
Surprising Trump Staff Changes
Campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who had urged the billionaire real estate mogul to temper his words and personality, is being demoted in favor of pollster Kellyanne Conway. But to most lawmakers and media members, the real change is the recruitment of Steve Bannon, an executive with the conservative news organization Breitbart, as campaign CEO.
That hiring sends Trump’s signal that he is finished playing by the rules of the Republican Party that clearly is embarrassed by their nominee. Breitbart and Bannon have been synonymous with attacks on the GOP leadership and Speaker Paul Ryan especially.
The political organization drew bi-partisan criticism for a story last May suggesting Ryan was a hypocrite opposing Trump’s beliefs in banning Muslims from entering the country from hot beds of terrorism. Breitbart accused the Speaker of sending his own children to a private Catholic school. The inference was their private school has its own religious test within their admission process.
Attacking Weak GOP Leaders
Bannon has also attacked Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) as being a weak fish in his dealings with the minority Democrats and President Obama. All of this ill-will towards GOP luminaries is causing consternation on Capitol Hill.
Bannon will not be impressed with his do or die approach to Trump’s sagging fortunes. Bloomberg Magazine wrote months ago that Bannon is a honey-badger don’t give a shit. His new role will do nothing to soften up Capitol Hill Republicans.
Trumps scorched-earth campaign has now moved into high gear. One House member who is a close friend of Speaker Ryan said, “Breitbart has no credibility outside of the most extreme conservative wing of our party.” Frankly, the same could be said of Kellyanne Conway. This would seem to signal that Trump is ready to go double-barrel against all of Washington, Republicans and Democrats alike.
Fears of the new take-no-prisoners approach could very well backfire for Trump. Its an all-or-nothing gamble of the highest order. Will Trump’s voter base be anywhere large enough to stifle the outcries of minorities, millennials and women.
Trump Supporters In Congress
Yet Bannon does have his supporters on Capitol Hill. They include Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va.), the victorious underdog in his defeat of then-Majority Leader Eric Cantor in a 2014 GOP primary race. Brat commented Wednesday to The Hill that Steve Bannon certainly will be great at reflecting the populist issues that have shaken the political world for the past couple years.
The congressman added, “He has his finger on the pulse of the American people, and so I am sure he will make these issues … front and center in this campaign, including the war on the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, immigration-related issues, crony trade deals and using all the levers of American power to ensure that we put the American people first.”
Michael Steele, a former chairman of the Republican National Committee, admitted the surprising changes in Trump’s campaign leadership like this; “There was a lot of wishful thinking, including from me, that he will make a turn, a pivot. Well, there should be no further expectations for him to do anything like that. This campaign is going to succeed or fail on what got us here. Its really kinda looking into the rearview mirror at the establishment, saying: There you are. You’re either going to get into the car with him or you’re not.”
The most unusual presidential election of the last 100 years will not be a pleasant ride for either candidate or the American people. Perhaps somewhere in the last 80 days or so before the general election, the candidates might even throw out some information on how they will lead the country for the next four years.