Trump taps two NC ag experts as advisers, shakes up campaign leadership

New campaign CEO is "bare-knuckle fighter"

Madeline Gray—North State Journal
Sen. Brent Jackson seen in the North Carolina Senate chambers during session June 28 inRaleigh.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump tapped two North Carolinians to be agriculture advisers for his campaign. Sen. Brent Jackson (R-Sampson County) and Bob Goodale, the former CEO of grocery chain Harris Teeter, are joining a high profile group that includes six governors to lead agriculture policy for Trump.The 64-member list is circulating because of the number of industry heavyweights on it. In addition to multiple governors and heads of industry, it includes John Block, former head of the USDA; and Jim Gilmore, former governor of Virginia and chairman of Report on Terrorism and Agro-Terrorism. The list indicates the campaign is focusing on the role of agriculture in national security. “The members of my agricultural advisory committee represent the best that America can offer to help serve agricultural communities,” said Trump in a statement. “Many of these officials have been elected by their communities to solve the issues that impact our rural areas every day. I’m very proud to stand with these men and women, and look forward to serving those who serve all Americans from the White House.”In addition to the agriculture policy list, Trump announced another leadership change for the campaign Wednesday, hiring the head of conservative website Breitbart News and promoting a seasoned political operative, Kellyanne Conway, to campaign manager. Stephen Bannon, the executive chairman of Breitbart, was named CEO, the Trump campaign said in a statement. Conway, an experienced pollster and mainstay in the GOP, had already been an adviser on the campaign. She spent the early part of the campaign season working for a super PAC that supported Ted Cruz.The staff changes, first reported in the Wall Street Journal, mark the second time in two months Trump has shifted the leadership in his campaign. On June 20, he fired longtime aide Corey Lewandowski as campaign manager and handed more power to senior campaign aide Paul Manafort. The statement from the Trump campaign said Manafort would remain as campaign chairman and chief strategist. Lewandowski brought controversy to the campaign after a Breitbart reporter accused him of grabbing her at a Trump campaign event. The charges were later dropped. is reporting that Bannon’s new role in the campaign indicates Trump is stepping up the combative intensity of his campaign. “[Bannon] represents the kind of bare-knuckle fighter Trump had in Lewandowski,” reported Breitbart. The story also said that Bannon is “deeply mistrustful” of the party establishment, with his website often critical of House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.The campaign’s announcement quotes Trump as saying he was “committed to doing whatever it takes to win” the election on Nov. 8. The campaign also said it will make its first major television commercial purchase later this week.