Facing electoral headwinds, Trump brings back 2016 team - Times of India

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NEW YORK: As anybody who has ever heard him converse is aware of, President Donald Trump likes to relive 2016.
He recycles previous assault traces as soon as geared toward Hillary Clinton. He recounts the drama of election evening, full with impersonations of surprised information anchors placing state after state (Pennsylvania! Wisconsin!) within the Republican’s column.
And at different instances, in non-public calls from the White Home residence, he reminisces concerning the camaraderie of these days, turning nostalgic as he remembers being surrounded by a rag-tag team of marketing campaign staffers as his non-public aircraft flew from one distant metropolis to a different.
Now, Trump is getting the band back collectively once more.
The president in current days has signed off on hiring a quantity of his 2016 veterans for his 2020 marketing campaign, a reenlistment of loyalists that follows the return of different members of his unique team to the West Wing. A creature of behavior who calls for loyalty and trusts few, Trump has moved to recreate the magic of his unique team 5 months earlier than he faces voters once more.
However 2020 isn’t 2016. And Trump’s advisers are more and more nervous concerning the state of the marketing campaign because the president faces a number of crises, from the well being and financial fallout of the coronavirus pandemic to the mass protests which have swept throughout the nation.
“It is improbable to have the 2016 group back collectively, however the information are the information. He barely received and he has achieved nothing in any respect to develop out his help,” mentioned Sam Nunberg, who suggested Trump early in his first marketing campaign.
“He cannot win on nostalgia. It isn’t the identical race. This isn’t going to be about slogans or themes, it may be about what you probably did for me and why I ought to reelect you primarily based in your report,” mentioned Nunberg, a casual adviser who won’t be rejoining the marketing campaign. “He cannot simply struggle the final conflict. It is time to adapt or die.”
The reinforcements are arriving as Trump involves phrases with the concept he cannot run the kind of marketing campaign he had deliberate for years —one which appeared possible as lately as January, in response to three marketing campaign and White Home officers who spoke on situation of anonymity as a result of they weren’t approved to publicly focus on non-public conversations.
Trump had anticipated to run on the back of a robust financial system earlier than the pandemic crippled it. And he had hoped to revive a quantity of tradition conflict and “deep state” accusations whereas going through a Democrat from the liberal wing of the social gathering whom he might paint as socialist. He wasn’t anticipating the extra average Joe Biden.
Although outwardly assured, Trump has privately instructed advisers he can’t consider polls that present him trailing and he has angrily snapped at marketing campaign supervisor Brad Parscale over the state of the race, in response to the officers.
The marketing campaign, which has far larger infrastructure and staffing than the slipshod operation of 4 years in the past, performed down the concept the return of the 2016 veterans was influenced by the state of the race or mirrored a scarcity of confidence in Parscale.
“For over three years now, Brad has been constructing the largest and finest political marketing campaign in historical past,” mentioned Tim Murtagh, the marketing campaign’s communications director. “Our newest workers additions are making Team Trump even stronger and solidify Brad’s management.”
Within the final week, the Trump marketing campaign employed Jason Miller, communications director in 2016, to concentrate on technique and coordinate between the marketing campaign and the White Home. Miller has co-hosted a pro-Trump podcast with the president’s former marketing campaign chief government, Steve Bannon.
Boris Epshteyn, who after 2016 grew to become a commentator for the conservative Sinclair Broadcast community, got here back to be a strategic adviser for coalitions. Invoice Stepien, a prime adviser in 2016, was lately promoted to deputy marketing campaign supervisor. And Justin Clark, one other longtime aide, has led the Republican Occasion’s authorized struggle over voting guidelines.
“Each president who has efficiently run a primary go-round seems so as to add on individuals who had been in that effort to the reelect,” mentioned Miller, earlier than touting the sources of the 2020 bid. “However that is the Starship Enterprise versus a rusted fishing boat we used within the first marketing campaign.”
Acquainted faces have additionally returned to the White Home.
Hope Hicks was Trump’s unique marketing campaign spokeswoman earlier than turning into one of his most trusted West Wing aides. She left the White Home in 2018 solely to return two years later and was one of the driving forces behind the president’s controversial picture op with a Bible after he walked by means of Lafayette Sq. final week to a close-by church as soon as the realm was cleared of protesters.
Johnny McEntee, who served as Trump’s private aide earlier than being fired by then-chief of workers John Kelly in 2018, returned in January and has been specializing in staffing the administration with loyalists.
Whereas Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s first marketing campaign supervisor, and David Bossie, a trusted aide, have each remained formally exterior the marketing campaign, they’ve attended a number of current technique periods and have been noticed on Air Power One and on the president’s golf golf equipment.
And a few of Trump’s 2016 team by no means left: Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, the president’s daughter and son-in-regulation, are senior advisers. Kellyanne Conway, the president’s ultimate 2016 marketing campaign supervisor, stays a senior White Home counselor. Dan Scavino runs the president’s social media presence from contained in the West Wing. And the president’s two grownup sons, Donald Jr. and Eric Trump, and Eric’s spouse, Lara, stay common marketing campaign surrogates.
However just a few of the previous gang haven’t returned. That features Bannon, who stays supportive of Trump after a messy exit from the White Home, and Keith Schiller, Trump’s longtime safety man.
“He’ll at all times default to a bunch of individuals he trusts and who will advocate for him till hell freezes over,” mentioned Timothy O’Brien, a Trump biographer who later labored for Michael Bloomberg’s presidential marketing campaign. “However there is a distinction between trusting individuals and being a superb choose of capability.”
“He tends to rent individuals who agree with him,” O’Brien mentioned. “He lives in a bubble.”

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