President Donald Trump announced on Wednesday that he would be replacing his long-time campaign manager, Brad Parscale — and many conservatives welcomed the news.
Parscale out: Taking over for Parscale is Bill Stepien, who previously served as White House political director and Trump’s deputy campaign manager.
- Parscale will retain a senior adviser role in the administration.
A needed change? According to a Politico report last month, citing multiple people close to the president, Trump has privately conceded what the majority of polls reflect: He’s on course to lose to Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee.
- Also on Wednesday, two national polls indicated Biden continues to lead Trump by a substantial margin.
- Some observers have cautioned against reading too deeply into poll results, pointing to Trump’s 2016 upset victory over Hillary Clinton.
- A statistical model that correctly predicted five of the six most recent presidential elections has given Trump a 91 percent chance of winning reelection in 2020.
The reaction: Trump's campaign shakeup was widely cheered by his supporters on social media.
- Sentiment had been growing in MAGA world that the current strategy wasn't serving the president well and a reset was needed.
The Spectator USA's Amber Athey reported that Trump's allies have expressed cautious optimism about Stepien's ability to get the campaign back to winning.
- Conservative activists told Athey they are "aghast with some of the campaign’s messaging" thus far.
- But insiders said Stepien excels "on broader messaging and campaign strategy," an area where they feel Parscale falls short.
- The union of Parscale's digital savvy with Stepien's messaging expertise and links to the party establishment is perceived as a "step in the right direction," Athey reported.
Mainstream media outlets and some on the populist right, though, predicted little would really change because Jared Kushner remained the person shaping Trump’s campaign strategy.
- Stepien has been described as an “ally” to Kushner, who hired both him and Parscale.
"Brad took the bullet for Jared,” an anonymous source close to the White House told NBC News.
"Jared Kushner was the campaign manager yesterday, is the campaign manager today, and will be the campaign manager tomorrow," the source said.
Activist and Trump supporter Mike Cernovich tweeted on Wednesday that Parscale had fallen “on his sword” as "Jared’s scapegoat."
- Like many populists, Cernovich has seen Kushner as a nefarious liberal force in the White House who has kept Trump from more fully delivering on his "America First" agenda.
This campaign’s effort is horrendous. For as brilliant as 2016 was, they are severely missing the boat this election.— Justin Henkin (@JustinHenkin) July 16, 2020
Who is Bill Stepien? Stepien, 42, is a veteran political operative who managed both of Republican Chris Christie’s successful gubernatorial campaigns in blue-leaning New Jersey, which has had mostly Democratic governors since the 1990s.
- Christie fired Stepien from his deputy chief of staff role in 2014 following the “Bridgegate” scandal.
- Stepien also worked for George W. Bush’s 2004 re-election campaign and as the national field director for late Sen. John McCain, an Arizona Republican, in 2008.