Ten days after President Trump’s rally in Tulsa, Okla., there has been a shake-up in the Trump 2020 campaign.
Michael Glassner, organizer of the president’s rallies, has been reassigned, and Jeff DeWit, who served as Arizona chairman of Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, has joined the 2020 staff as chief operating officer.
Trump 2020 campaign manager Brad Parscale is staying put despite reportedly taking heavy criticism after a lower-than-expected crowd turnout in Tulsa.
News of the shake-up was first reported by Axios.
Trump 2020 campaign communications director Tim Murtaugh confirmed the staffing changes in a statement to Fox News.
“This is not a reaction to Tulsa,” Murtaugh said. “Michael Glassner is moving into the long-term role of navigating the many legal courses we face, including suits against major media outlets, some of which will likely extend beyond the end of the campaign.
“He is one of the founding members of Team Trump and his dedication to the success of the president is unmatched.”
Just days before the June 20 rally in Tulsa, Parscale claimed the campaign had received more than 1 million requests for free tickets. But on the day of the event, it became apparent that the expected large crowd did not materialize.
“Brad broke the first rule of American politics: under-promise and over-deliver,” Rick Wilson, co-founder of The Lincoln Project, a political action committee run by anti-Trump Republicans, told The Guardian.
The local fire marshal estimated the turnout at the 19,000-seat BOK Center arena at about 6,200, but Murtaugh – during an appearance June 22 on Fox News’ “Outnumbered Overtime” – disputed that estimate, asserting that Secret Service personnel counted about 12,000 people going through the turnstiles.
Both Parscale and Murtaugh also claimed that, in addition to concerns about the coronavirus, turnout was likely affected by more than a week of negative advance coverage on cable news networks, speculating that protesters and rioters might show up at the event. Campaign officials claimed such reports likely scared off many families who had hoped to attend.
Parscale also pushed back against claims that anti-Trump pranksters using TikTok may have sabotaged the turnout by making phony ticket reservations.
“Leftists and online trolls doing a victory lap, thinking they somehow impacted rally attendance, don’t know what they’re talking about or how our rallies work,” Parscale said June 21. “Reporters who wrote gleefully about TikTok and K-Pop [Korean pop music] fans — without contacting the campaign for comment — behaved unprofessionally and were willing dupes to the charade.”
In March 2016, with DeWit, then the Arizona state treasurer, heading his campaign in the state, candidate Donald Trump won a solid victory in the Grand Canyon State, capturing nearly 46 percent of the vote in a field of three active Republican candidates – plus 11 withdrawn candidates who also received votes.
The Arizona win added 58 delegates to Trump’s tally as he eventually advanced to the GOP presidential nomination – and ultimately a White House win over Democrat Hillary Clinton.
After taking office, Trump nominated DeWit to be NASA’s chief financial officer. The Senate confirmed DeWit’s nomination in March 2018.
DeWit resigned from the space agency in February, expressing a desire to return to his family in Arizona after working in Washington, according to SpaceNews.com.
He had served as Arizona’s state treasurer from January 2015 to April 2018, after succeeding Doug Ducey, who is now the state’s governor.
Glassner, who had been a Trump campaign official as far back as 2015, was expecting to be reassigned, a source told Axios.
“Michael didn’t really make many mistakes [at Tulsa],” the source told the outlet. “He did what he always did, and it didn’t work post-COVID.”