Chain of Command

Trump Promotes Manafort to Campaign Chairman

The veteran campaign strategist will now be in charge of nearly every facet of the campaign.

TRUMP NEW YORK
Photographer: Victor J. Blue/Bloomberg

Power over the management of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign is shifting to Paul Manafort.

Manafort was hired for his experience with contested Republican conventions, but now that that threat has passed, Trump is naming the 67-year-old strategist as the campaign chairman, aides told Bloomberg Politics.

Corey Lewandowski, 42, will continue to be campaign manager, Hope Hicks, the campaign's spokesperson, said. But Manafort, whose title also currently includes chief strategist, is now in charge of every facet of the campaign.

Hicks, 27, said Lewandowski will oversee day to day operations and work with Manafort on political strategy and communications. The news was first reported by ABC News. 

With this move, Trump raised Manafort to a higher position than Lewandowski, the hard-nosed ex-policeman who led the campaign from its nascent stages to early wins in the New Hampshire and South Carolina primaries. Manafort, a longtime Washington workhorse, has taken over most of the internal mechanics of the campaign in the last two months.

The two senior advisers have been grappling for upper hand since Manafort came on board in late March, when Trump’s quest for the nomination was threatened by chief rival Ted Cruz, who was vacuuming up enough delegates to threaten a contested convention in July. 

The two men also have very different styles.

Lewandowski backed a strategy of letting Trump be Trump, giving the candidate free rein to unleash the undisciplined rhetoric and trademark combativeness that fueled the insurgent campaign. Manafort represents the more traditional side of the campaign, adding predictability and accessibility to an organization that had a fly-by-night quality to it.

Despite Trump’s longtime front-runner status, his team just recently began to put together some of the basic building blocks of a campaign, including a fundraising team, digital operation and research team. Manafort led the outreach to establishment Republicans that Trump had long ridiculed, to the delight of many of his conservative fans, and promised GOP insiders that they’d soon see him behaving in a more presidential manner.

Manafort’s history as an adviser to presidential campaigns dates to the era of Gerald Ford. He has also worked for Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, Bob Dole, George W. Bush and John McCain.

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