Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has tapped Stephen Bannon, the controversial head of Breitbart News, to be the new CEO of the Trump campaign.
Robert Costa, a reporter for The Washington Post, appeared on MSNBC's "Morning Joe" on Aug. 17 and said the change came because Trump was feeling constrained by campaign manager Paul Manafort and others:
Trump’s been growing agitated for weeks about the efforts by Manafort and people close to Manafort to constrain Trump, to get Trump to be more disciplined. But it came to a head on Saturday night, according to my sources. Trump was in the Hamptons, he was at a fundraiser at Woody Johnson's house, the owner of the Jets. And the Mercer family was there. They're big donors to the Breitbart website ... And Trump was furious about all these reports of him being managed and trying to be tamed.
Costa stated that Trump called up Bannon and Kellyanne Conway on Aug. 14 and said, "You guys gotta help me give my campaign a jolt. I want you to run it. We're not gonna shelve Manafort. Manafort is still gonna be involved, but I want you to be running this, letting me be me."
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Ben Shapiro, a former editor at Breitbart who left the news site because of its pro-Trump leanings, writes on The Daily Wire that Bannon "used his role as Breitbart CEO to turn the outlet into Trump Pravda, creating a stepping stone to close connection with Trump. Breitbart publicly burned bridges with everyone to maintain its Trump loyalty. That was Bannon, a scorched-earth personal opportunist."
Shapiro, a longtime conservative journalist, adds:
One of the main investors in Breitbart News is Robert Mercer. The Mercer family put millions of dollars into a Ted Cruz super PAC during this election cycle, even as Bannon manipulated Breitbart News into a Cruz-bashing Trump propaganda outlet. The spokesperson for the Mercer family was Kellyanne Conway, who has now been installed as Trump’s campaign manager...
Andrew Breitbart despised racism. Truly despised it. He used to brag regularly about helping to integrate his fraternity at Tulane University. He insisted that racial stories be treated with special care to avoid even the whiff of racism. With Bannon embracing Trump, all that changed. Now Breitbart has become the alt-right go-to website, with Yiannopoulos pushing white ethno-nationalism as a legitimate response to political correctness, and the comment section turning into a cesspool for white supremacist mememakers.
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The Times reports that a newly discovered 2015 memo from a Ukrainian prosecutor suggests that Manafort may have been involved in Russia's annexation of Crimea, and may have helped organize protests against NATO that resulted in NATO having to shut down planned exercises.