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Trump prides himself on hiring the best people. So what's with his rotating cast of campaign leaders?

Stephen Bannon, Trump's new campaign CEO, faced domestic violence accusations two decades ago. (Associated Press)
Stephen Bannon, Trump's new campaign CEO, faced domestic violence accusations two decades ago. (Associated Press)

Donald Trump’s frequent assertion that he hires only the best people is once again being challenged, this time by revelations of a domestic violence accusation against his freshly minted campaign CEO.

News broke late Thursday that Stephen Bannon, Trump’s new campaign chief and the former head of Breitbart News, was accused two decades ago of hitting his then-wife. He was charged with misdemeanor domestic violence, battery and dissuading a witness. The charges were dropped when Bannon’s wife did not appear in court.

Corey Lewandowski. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)
Corey Lewandowski. (Brian van der Brug / Los Angeles Times)

The revelations are only the latest controversy involving Trump’s rotating cast of campaign leaders.

Part of this is due to the unconventional nature of Trump's campaign — he has frequently relied on people he connects with on a gut level but who have little political experience.

Corey Lewandowski, Trump's first campaign manager, is a prime example. Fiercely loyal, Lewandowski was comfortable with allowing Trump to be Trump rather than acting like a traditional candidate.

He was ultimately sent packing after repeated clashes with Trump’s children, who serve as informal counselors for their father's campaign.

Lewandowski was also accused of manhandling a female reporter; prosecutors declined to pursue charges.

But even after firing him, Trump continued to seek counsel from Lewandowski, whom he credits with helping him ascend to the top of the field in the Republican primaries.

Lewandowski was replaced by veteran operative Paul Manafort at a time when Trump was facing the prospect of a contested Republican convention and being urged to bring on experienced advisors.

Paul Manafort. (Matt Rourke / Associated Press)
Paul Manafort. (Matt Rourke / Associated Press)

Manafort served as a bridge to the GOP establishment, but his attempts to make Trump into a more focused, traditional candidate did not sit well as the campaign floundered after the convention.

And then came growing scrutiny of Manafort's work for a pro-Russia political party in Ukraine. He resigned last week, to be replaced by pollster Kellyanne Conway as campaign manager and Bannon as chief executive.

Bannon, a conservative media honcho with no campaign experience, appears to fall into the Lewandowski model of allowing Trump to follow his instincts.

Conway is charged with bridging the two approaches — allowing Trump's personality to shine through while smoothing his rougher edges.

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