Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, Robby Mook, said Wednesday that Donald Trump has won the battle “to be himself” with his latest campaign shakeup and has surrounded himself with people who will “enable” him.
“What’s become clear from this is that no matter how much the establishment wants to clean Donald Trump up — get him on a teleprompter and get him on message — he has officially won the fight to let Trump be Trump,” Mook said on a conference call with reporters. Trump’s poll numbers have slid since the conventions, and he now trails Clinton by an average of 6 points in national polls, according to RealClearPolitics.
The real estate mogul brought in Stephen Bannon, the executive chairman of the conservative website Breitbart News, as his new campaign CEO and pollster Kellyanne Conway as his new campaign manager. Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign chair, has spent months trying to temper Trump’s image and presentation, and the shakeup signaled that Trump is done with that strategy, the Washington Post reported.
“You know, I am who I am,” Trump said Tuesday. “It’s me. I don’t want to change.” He added that doing a general election “pivot” would be dishonest.
Clinton echoed this at a rally Wednesday afternoon in Ohio. “There is no new Donald Trump,” she told her supporters. “This is it.”
Mook accused Bannon’s Breitbart News of peddling “divisive, at-times racist, anti-Muslim, anti-Semitic conspiracy theories,” including “birther” attacks that claim President Obama was not born in America. He said the Clinton campaign is bracing itself for Trump to deploy more conspiracy theories now that Bannon is in charge.
“We absolutely expect with this change for Donald Trump to double down on more hateful and divisive rhetoric, more conspiracy theories,” Mook said.
Mook dryly noted the dysfunction going on in Trump’s campaign, saying the candidate has appeared to win out in his quest to be himself. “All I can say vis-à-vis the pivot is it’s absolutely clear that after a long struggle within his organization, Trump has prevailed,” he said.
“And he’s said very clearly that he wants to be himself. He wants to say whatever’s on his mind and the things that he believes and that he is going to do that. I think that’s how we should expect him to finish out the campaign and he has certainly assembled a group of people around him who will support and enable that.”