U.S. President Donald Trump named Brad Parscale, who served as the digital media director for his 2016 campaign, as his 2020 campaign manager in mid-February.
In 2011, Parscale was hired by the Trump organization to develop and designed websites while crafting the company’s digital media strategies. In early 2015, Trump hired Parscale, a 6-foot-8 former college basketball player, and his firm Giles-Parscale, to create a website for his presidential exploratory campaign.
Today, Trump’s daughter-in-law Lara Trump works for Giles-Parscale. Parscale maintains a home in San Antonio, Texas and stays out of the media spotlight and Washington circles - although he is known for his fierce loyalty to Donald Trump.
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The techie faced controvery when, according to CNN, Parscale hired more than a dozen Cambridge Analytica employees for the Trump campaign as analysts. Cambridge Analytics is a Republican data firm associated with Steve Bannon that reportedly "tried to reach WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to try to help take better political advantage of the hacked Clinton emails."
Parscale was asked about Cambridge Analytica during his interview with the House Intelligence Committee in October. The ranking members of the House Oversight and Judiciary committees sent him and Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander Nix letters later that month asking whether their firms received "information from a foreign government or foreign actor" at any point during the election.
The FBI's special counsel Robert Mueller indicted 13 Russian operatives earlier this month for their part in disseminating a disinformation campaign known as Project Lahkta. The FBI and Congressional investigations continue to target a Russian troll farm called Internet Research Agency, which purchased political ads on Facebook, Twitter, and Google, inorder to divide the U.S. electorate and stoke racial tensions.
A loyal soldier
“Maybe my job made 0.1% of difference, but Donald Trump did 99.9% of the work, and anyone who tells you different doesn’t know Donald Trump,” Parscale told Buzzfeed News in 2017.
“Donald Trump won the campaign, and I was empowered by Jared Kushner and lucky to be around people like Kellyanne Conway and Steve Bannon,” he added. “I think I took Mr. Trump’s and Jared’s confidence in me and did the best job possible. And I had a great team.”
Joshua Green, author of the "Devil's Bargain," chronicled Parscals activities during the 2016 presidential campaign. Green tweeted Tuesday that, "Trump's new campaign manager, Brad Parscale, also oversaw the Facebook "dark posts" the Trump campaign used to depress the African-American vote."
Green also notes that, "During the 2016 race, Trump's new campaign manager Brad Parscale ghost-wrote hundreds of Trump's tweets housed on a laptop he called the "Command Center."
During the campaign, Trump spent $1.1 million on digital advertising through the firm of Parscale, who ran the campaign website and online fundraising during the 2016 election. The remainder of Trump's expenses went to payroll for a small staff, travel and event costs.
Trump filed for re-election the day he took office, an unusual move for an incumbent president. Traditionally, incumbent presidents have waited until after their second year in office to begin their re-election campaign. Trump will stand for re-election in November 2020.
Trump's campaign has a joint fundraising agreement with the Republican National Committee, which accounted for about $3.5 million raised in the final quarter of the year.
More than half of the donations made directly to his campaign came from contributors who donated less than $200.
"Never before has a president's campaign committee raised so much in his first year in office, and never has a president enjoyed so much support from small donors who continue to rally around him," Lara Trump, the president's daughter-in-law and adviser to his re-election campaign, said in a statement.
At the end of former President Barack Obama's first year in office, his campaign had about $8 million in cash, most of which was left over from his previous campaign and not the product of new fundraising efforts. Obama spent about $852,000 in the last quarter of his first year in office - $2 million less than Trump spent in the same time period.
Obama did not begin running for re-election until after completing two full years in office.
Reuters contributed to this report