On Wednesday morning, Donald Trump spokesperson Katrina Pierson appeared on a CNN panel to discuss a second major shake-up in the Trump campaign in as many months. In a move that many see as a demotion for campaign chairman Paul Manafort, the Trump campaign announced Wednesday that senior advisor and pollster Kellyanne Conway will be promoted to campaign manager. Executive chairman of Breitbart News Stephen Bannon is also stepping in as CEO of the campaign.
CNN’s Carol Costello asked Pierson whether the shift was the right move for Trump. Pierson avoided the question: “The media and many on the right who have always been vocal against Mr. Trump have been writing this campaign’s obituary for over 400 days and it hasn’t worked yet,” she said. “The thing is, when we are talking about campaign additions — and I know CNN is focusing on Bannon for whatever reason. He’s not in charge of communications, he’s just the CEO.” She went on to ask why no one was inquiring into Hillary Clinton‘s mostly static campaign staff.
Costello couldn’t get a word in. “I know you want to deflect, and I appreciate that, because that’s your job, but…” Pierson interrupted with another attempt to shift the conversation, imploring the panel into Clinton campaign chair John Podesta and his brother. Why isn’t CNN discussing the boards they sit on? “Because Donald Trump just shook up his campaign for the second time in a two month period,” Costello said, exasperated. “No he didn’t!” Pierson shot back. “Oh come on, Katrina,” Costello protested. But the spokeswoman refused to even discuss it:
“No one’s out. When you shake up your campaign, that usually means someone is out. This was announced as an expansion… We’ve had multiple expansions of this campaign, but for some reason CNN is probably the only one reporting that some shake-up is happening … This is not something that people are being replaced. This is an expansion of the team.”
CNN Political Commentator Maria Cardona wasn’t having it. “Anybody who knows anything about presidential politics and how campaigns are run knows that this is a shake-up. Sure, they’re not calling it a shake-up, they’re calling it an expansion. Call it whatever you want. It is absolutely a shake-up.” When Pierson again reiterated that the staff changes amounted to “an expansion of the team,” Costello laughed, “Even Fox News is calling this a shake-up!”