This article has been updated.
Hours after suggesting in an interview Wednesday that he’s considering major “personnel changes” to his troubled campaign, presidential candidate Ben Carson said in a written statement that he has “100 percent confidence” in his current team.
In the statement, released hours after a pair of interviews in which he hinted at a major staff shakeup, Carson said, “We are refining some operational practice sand streamlining some staff assignments to more aptly match the tasks ahead, but my senior team remains in place with my full confidence, and they will continue to execute our campaign plan.”
Earlier, in an interview with the Associated Press, Carson said “everything is on the table” regarding changes to his campaign. “I’m looking carefully.”
The AP noted that the interview was conducted without the knowledge of Carson’s campaign manager, Barry Bennett. Carson also participated in an interview Wednesday with the Washington Post.
Shortly after those interviews were published, Bennett told NBC News that no staff shakeup was planned. And Wednesday afternoon, the campaign put out the written statement with Carson expressing “100 percent confidence in my campaign team.”
Carson has slid dramatically in public polling in recent weeks.
In a NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll in late October, Carson led the GOP field at 29 percent support. But by mid-December, his backing had plummeted by double digits to just 11 percent.
Carson has struggled to convey a grasp of foreign policy, an issue that rocketed to the top of GOP voters’ concerns after the terror attacks in Paris and San Bernardino. He abruptly cancelled a planned trip to Africa at the end of the year, citing security worries.
He has been lampooned for his low-key style, being portrayed on “Saturday Night Live” as sleeping through the GOP debates.
Carson acknowledged those issues in the AP interview, saying “The issue that has been put out is that because you are soft-spoken and nice you can’t possibly be tough, you can’t have the strength to deal with the incredible security problems we now face.”
That notion is “not true, but now I’m talking about it,” he said.
Carson also appears to have run into significant money-raising woes. Although he has posted strong fundraising numbers, the Wall Street Journal reported this week that he spent $9.5 million in October, more than he raised for the month.
“We’ve had enormous fundraising, but that requires that you be efficient in the way you utilize the funds. And, yes, we are looking at all those things,” he told the AP.