- The Washington Times - Monday, August 22, 2016

In an unusual move, Donald Trump’s new campaign leadership will have the in-person, on-site help of Sean Spicer, the Republican National Committee’s chief strategist and communications director.

Other GOP presidential campaigns have had RNC staff helping out but none of Mr. Spicer’s rank.

In an arrangement worked out by Trump campaign manager Kellyane Conway, campaign CEO Steve Bannon and RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, Mr. Spicer will spend three or four days a week after Labor Day at Trump Tower in Manhattan working with Mrs. Conway, Mr. Bannon and senior campaign adviser Jason Miller.

Mr. Miller, about whom little has been heard outside Trump Tower, worked for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s presidential nomination campaign before it folded.

The Trump operation, never a conventional presidential campaign organization, will get the benefit of Mr. Spicer’s strategic planning experience and his news and social-media communications skills at no charge. The RNC will continue to pay his salary.

The chief strategist of the GOP’s national governing body has been recruited to make sure the new Trump leadership team’s ideas and directives get translated into action, he told The Washington Times.

Mr. Spicer flew to New York early Monday for a morning of meetings with the Trump team interspersed with TV news interviews in which he sounded like the Trump campaign’s chief spokesman.

Why these on-site meetings that may continue into the first week of November? “We needed to start looking at the campaign’s mechanics, the procedural stuff, with 78 days to go,” he said.

That means, he said, thinking through which locations to send Mr. Trump and his surrogates, how to better use surrogates and resources,

Mr. Spicer, 44, spent his first day on the 14th floor of Trump Tower on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan on Monday, before catching a shuttle back to be with his wife and two children at their home in Northern Virginia.

Among the strategies and tactics under discussion Monday was what will be in the Trump plan for dealing with an estimated 11 million people in the United States illegally. Mr. Spicer said the candidate will unveil more about the plan in about two weeks.

Mr. Spicer sees himself as lending a helping hand to the new Trump leadership, which means his purview extends well beyond the Trump war room.

“We need to make sure the entire team, not just RNC and campaign, know where we’re going,” said Mr. Spicer. “All the top surrogates and all Republican leaders — that means Washington and in the states — they all have to understand where we’re headed and what’s around the corner.”

Does “around the corner” mean being better prepared for unpleasant surprises that in the past have been met with ad hoc responses that at times seemed to make things worse? “We have to be ready for incoming attacks and ready to talk about the Trump vision and philosophy and how it contrasts with Hillary,” he said.

“We need to identify the key contrasts with Clinton and drive those contrasts home,” he said.

• Ralph Z. Hallow can be reached at rhallow@gmail.com.

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