Donald Trump won big tonight in the New York primary, and recent staffing changes within the campaign suggest to commentators that Trump is gearing up for a general election fight against Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders.
Just days before the New York primary, Donald Trump made some big changes to his campaign, bringing on seasoned staffers with experience working on presidential campaigns. According to the Washington Post, Trump’s staffing changes and his big win in New York tonight could be key moments for his campaign – make or break, according to the Post.
Multiple outlets have confirmed that Donald Trump has won the New York primary, beating out rivals Ted Cruz and John Kasich with a landslide victory. The votes are still coming in as of this reporting, but according to Vox, the Trump campaign has reason to celebrate tonight. What remains to be seen, however, is the allocation of Republican delegates, which will determine the next steps Donald Trump will have to take in order to secure the Republican nomination ahead of a contested convention this summer.
Still, Trump’s recent staffing changes suggest to observers that the billionaire’s campaign is pivoting toward a general election and gearing up for a rough-and-tumble fight against the Republican Party and the eventual Democratic nominee.
“Although Trump has won more than 20 state nominating contests, he is at risk of failing to gain the support of a majority of state-level delegates before the Republican Party’s convention in July,” reports Jenna Johnson for The Washington Post.
After suffering embarrassing defeats to Ted Cruz in Colorado and Wyoming, as a result of the Cruz campaign’s superior ground game – a combination of experienced staffers and long-term strategy to win over delegates – Donald Trump has brought on some new staffers with serious experience wrangling Republican delegates.
After Corey Lewandowski’s brush with the law – and with a Breitbart reporter – the now-exonerated campaign manager is reportedly taking a sideline role to the new staffers brought on board to guide the Trump campaign through the Republican primary and into a bitterly contested general election. According to the Washington Post, new hire and veteran Republican operative Paul Manafort has already started filling the Trump campaign’s ranks with his own staff and associates, effectively sidelining Lewandowski.
After the big win in New York tonight, Trump still faces some friction from within his own campaign, as loyal staffers who have been with Trump since the beginning are starting to see themselves pushed out in favor of Washington insiders who have the strategic know-how and political connections to outmaneuver Ted Cruz and John Kasich – who have both been chipping away at Trump’s lead in the Republican primary.
“When you bring other people in, I could see some people, their feelings get a little bit hurt. But frankly, you know, we’re in a position where we’d like to see if we can close it out,” said Donald Trump in an interview with Fox News today.
Even just ahead of the New York primary – which Trump won handily – the Post speculates that the internal changes in the Trump campaign signal bigger changes within the candidate himself.
“He seems to have heeded advice from his wife and daughters to tone down his rhetoric,” writes Jenna Johnson for the Washington Post.
The change in Trump’s tone and demeanor appears to have paid off with New York voters, who turned out to the polls in huge numbers to support the Trump campaign, reports Vox. The Donald Trump campaign already won the popular vote in the New York republican primary, but it remains to be seen whether or not Trump will secure enough New York delegates to narrow the chances of his rivals.
[Photo by John Moore/Getty Images]