Trump Replaces Campaign Manager 07/16 06:13
President Donald Trump shook up his campaign staff amid sinking poll numbers
less than four months before the election, replacing campaign manager Brad
Parscale with veteran GOP operative Bill Stepien.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Donald Trump shook up his campaign staff amid
sinking poll numbers less than four months before the election, replacing
campaign manager Brad Parscale with veteran GOP operative Bill Stepien.
"I am pleased to announce that Bill Stepien has been promoted to the role of
Trump Campaign Manager," Trump said Wednesday on Facebook. "Brad Parscale, who
has been with me for a very long time and has led our tremendous digital and
data strategies, will remain in that role, while being a Senior Advisor to the
Trump and Parscale's relationship had been increasingly strained, with the
president annoyed by the publicity Parscale had garnered in the role. But the
final straw appeared to be a Tulsa, Oklahoma, rally last month that drew an
unexpectedly low crowd of about 6,200 people after Parscale had bragged that
more than a million people had requested tickets. The president was furious.
The shakeup injected familiar turmoil to Trump's 2020 campaign, which had so
far largely avoided the regular staff churn that dominated the president's 2016
campaign and his White House. It comes as Trump has been struggling in his
reelection campaign against presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe
Biden, with the nation facing health and economic crises during a pandemic that
has killed more than 135,000 Americans.
The staff change was not expected to alter the day-to-day running of the
campaign. News of the shuffle was delivered to Parscale on Wednesday afternoon
by White House adviser and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner.
Parscale, a political novice, ran Trump's digital advertising in 2016 and
was credited with helping bring about his surprise victory that year. Stepien
has been in politics for years, working for former New Jersey Gov. Chris
Christie and serving as Trump's national field director in 2016.
Parscale had been increasingly sidelined in the weeks since the Tulsa rally
and as the president's public and private poll numbers have taken a hit amid
the pandemic. Speculation had been rampant about who might be promoted to lead
the operation, with names like former Trump strategist Steve Bannon floated.
Parscale is a close ally of Kushner, who wields ultimate control over the
campaign. A Florida resident, he had not been a regular presence of late in the
campaign's Arlington, Virginia, headquarters, sparking some resentments among
Rather than parting ways completely, Parscale was retained in part because
of the difficulty the campaign would have faced in rebuilding its digital
advertising operation so close to the Nov. 3 general election. While the
Republican National Committee owned most of the campaign's data, voter modeling
and outreach tools, Parscale ran most of the microtargeted online advertising
that Trump aides believed were key in 2016.
Parscale's digital advertising firm was among the campaign's most
significant vendors, and some in Trump's orbit have alleged that the former
campaign manager was profiting off the president's reelection. Parscale has
repeatedly denied the claims.
Trump has been pressed by allies in recent months to expand his political
circle and more forcefully define his run against Biden. Last month, Trump
announced a promotion for Stepien and returned former communications chief
Jason Miller to his campaign, taking away some of Parscale's clout and
Biden also shuffled his campaign team, albeit much earlier in the cycle,
amid a disastrous stretch in his primary run. For Biden, the moves marked
genuine shakeups that expanded and changed how his campaign operated.
Biden elevated Anita Dunn, effectively displacing his first campaign
manager, Greg Schultz, after a fourth-place Iowa finish and as he was already
headed for a second embarrassing finish in New Hampshire. Dunn had joined Biden
at the outset of his campaign after having served President Barack Obama as a
top communications adviser.
With Dunn's urging, Biden hired his current campaign manager, Jen O'Malley
Dillon, in March after Dunn and others helped resurrect Biden in Nevada and
South Carolina and put him on the path to the nomination. Schultz is now at the
Democratic National Committee, helping lead the joint battleground strategy
among the national party, the Biden campaign and state parties.