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Trump Names Bill Stepien New Campaign Manager In Reshuffling

Donald Trump speaking at CPAC in Washington D.C. on February 10, 2011. Date: 10 February 2011 Source: Own work Author: Gage Skidmore

“Stepien has less than four months to turn the Trump campaign around. A large focus will be toward securing battleground states such as Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania.”

President Donald Trump made a drastic change to his reelection team Wednesday when he named Bill Stepien the new campaign manager. Stepien previously served as the deputy campaign manager to Brad Parscale, whom he replaces, The New York Times reported. Although Parscale was relieved of his management duties, the Trump campaign has decided to retain him as senior adviser for data and digital operations.

Plenty of Failings

Recent polling hasn’t been good for the Trump campaign, including new polls released this week that have the president behind Democratic candidate Joe Biden. Worse, Biden’s lead, now solidly in the double digits, is growing according to most surveys. In a Quinnipiac poll, Biden’s lead nearly doubled from last month to 15 points, The New York Times reported.

Trump has also been agitated by polling reported by Fox News. After the network aired unfavorable results for the president on July 5, he tweeted, “[Fox News] gladly puts up the phony suppression polls as soon as they come out. We are leading in the REAL polls because people are sick & tired of watching the Democrat run cities, in all cases, falling apart. Also, now 96% Approval Rating in the Republican Party. Another 2016!”

In addition to a constant barrage of negative poll results, the Trump campaign also suffered a lackluster rally in Tulsa, Okla., that was supposed to be full of pomp as the president returned to his signature rallies. Parscale hyped up the occasion, announcing that one million people requested tickets to the event. Only 6,000 people attended, however, putting Parscale on thin ice with Trump. 

Someone to Blame

Combined with the low poll numbers, the president has looked for a fall guy. Privately, he has blamed Parscale since the Tulsa fiasco and according to CNN, his rage has become more transparent at campaign meetings.

“I am pleased to announce that Bill Stepien has been promoted to the role of Trump campaign manager,” Mr. Trump said in a statement. “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 adviser to the campaign. Both were heavily involved in our historic 2016 win, and I look forward to having a big and very important second win together.”

Parscale was reportedly caught off guard when Trump named Bill Stepien the new campaign manager. The news also surprised other members of the campaign, but the move was in planning for days, CNN reported. According to a senior campaign adviser, Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and other advisers deliberated Parscale’s fate recently. 

In addition to the dismal polling and low rally turnout, Parscale has also come under fire over news reports of his profits from working on Trump campaign. In particular, articles that detailed his purchases of exotic cars and expensive property have bothered Trump recently, but similar reports have bothered Trump for over a year, The New York Times reported.

Kushner’s Men

Parscale was promoted to campaign manager in 2018 after leading a digital strategy for the president’s 2016 campaign. Parscale and Stepien were both hired by Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner. Like Parscale, Stepien was part of the 2016 campaign, joining in August as the national field director.

Kushner previously hailed both men as crucial components to the 2016 campaign. According to campaign sources, Kushner is the one who is really in power on the Trump team, CBS News reported.

“Make no mistake,” said a Trump reelection adviser. “Jared was the campaign manager yesterday and Jared is the campaign manager today.”

Don’t Call It a Demotion

The campaign team also sought to control the optics of the campaign manager shuffling by downplaying the significance of it, POLITICO reported.

“Let’s be clear what happened here. The only thing that shifted was Donald Trump simply asked Bill to steer the ship and Brad to man the guns,” said Hogan Gidley, the campaign’s national press secretary. “He’s not demoted. What Brad is focusing on is the digital strategy.”

Gidley also dismissed recent polls that skew heavily toward Biden saying, “I wouldn’t buy those polls” and alleging they are biased toward Democrats.

Campaign Veteran

Trump named Bill Stepien the new campaign manager knowing that it won’t be his first rodeo. Prior to working on the president’s campaigns, Stepien was national director for John McCain’s 2008 presidential bid and political director for George W. Bush’s 2004 campaign, CNN reported.

Afterward, he joined former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie as a top aide, but was ultimately ousted during the Bridgegate scandal. 

“Bill [Stepien] is the most talented political operative in America. He understands political operations, he understands field, he understands turnout and metrics in a way that’s unparalleled,” said Matt Mowers, a New Hampshire congressional candidate and a former Christie and Trump administration aide.

Stepien has less than four months to turn the Trump campaign around. A large focus will be toward securing battleground states such as Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania where Trump continues to lag, a source close to Stepien told CNN. 

Daniel Davis

Daniel Davis is Managing Editor for The Osage County Herald-Chronicle in Kansas and also covers International news for Inside Over, a Milan-based global affairs publication. He graduated in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in political science. Outside of writing, he enjoys photography and one day hopes to return to video production. Learn more about him at his website danieldavis.la.

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