President Donald Trump announced on Wednesday the first major shakeup of his 2020 reelection campaign, replacing Brad Parscale as campaign manager with Bill Stepien.
Parscale will now serve as a senior adviser for data and digital operations, while Stepien moves up from his role as deputy campaign manager to spearhead an uphill climb in the president’s bid for a second term.
“Both were heavily involved in our historic 2016 win, and I look forward to having a big and very important second win together,” Trump said in his announcement, which was posted on Facebook while his Twitter account remained disabled amid a hacking attack on the social network.
The New York Times first broke the news of Parscale’s formal demotion, citing senior White House adviser and Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner confirming the shakeup.
“Brad and Bill were both unsung heroes of the 2016 campaign and have done a great job building the infrastructure for the president’s campaign for the 2020 race. Together they both bring unique strengths,” Kushner told the Times.
Parscale’s demotion follows months of trouble inside the president’s reelection campaign. Opposing factions who had been boxed out by Kushner and Parscale were attacking Parscale from the outside — circulating stories of him earning too much money from the campaign. One adviser said Trump dubbed Parscale the “$10 million man,” a reference to the shocking fees he was collecting for his campaign work.
Kushner layered over Parscale in May, as first reported by Insider — but Trump’s move Wednesday marked the formal, if shockingly gentle, ouster of Parscale.
Parscale lost big battles inside the campaign recently, including a failed effort with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis to keep Trump loyalist Susie Wiles off the campaign.
Trump’s decision followed one day after a bruising Washington Post story detailing Parscale’s recent work phoning it in poolside from his home state of Florida. But the move to demote Parscale had been in the works for months, with Trump and Kushner getting the cover they needed to make the decision public on Wednesday after a string of terrible poll numbers came out throughout the day showing the president losing to presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden in November.
Parscale’s demotion is also well within the norm for the Trump campaign.
By June of 2016, Trump had moved on from his first campaign manager by firing Corey Lewandowski. Paul Manafort followed in the top Trump 2016 role, though he too got ousted amid media reports about questionable payments to his lobbying firm from Ukrainian politicians that two years later would lead to his conviction on multiple fraud charges and ultimately a 7.5-year prison sentence. Trump finished out his first presidential run with Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway in charge.
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