(ABC) – Months before the election, President Trump is demoting his campaign manager and replacing him with a former aide from his 2016 campaign.
Despite boasting that his campaign is doing much better than the media reports, President Trump is shaking up his campaign just a month before his convention.
With just over 100 days until Election Day, he’s demoting long-time campaign manager Brad Parscale. Parscale will return to running the digital operation, and Bill Stepien is taking the top job. Stepien is someone the president is very comfortable with. He was the White House Political Director and involved with the 2016 campaign.
The shakeup comes amid lagging poll numbers, something the president was asked about Tuesday.
“Do you see yourself as the underdog in this race? Do you see yourself losing in the fall?” asked an interviewer.
“No, I don’t. I think we have really good poll numbers,” said President Trump.
However, several recent polls tell a different story. Many have him down double digits, both nationally and in key swing states, to former Vice President Joe Biden.
“I think that the enthusiasm now is greater, and maybe far greater, than it was in 2016. I think a lot of people don’t want to talk about it,” he said.
Crowd size at events has long been an important barometer for the president, although that doesn’t necessarily correlate with winning elections.
At his early June rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Parscale promised an overflowing crowd. However, the arena was only one-third full. This reportedly infuriated President Trump.
The president is also facing criticism from state leaders in his own party over his coronavirus response.
Maryland’s Rep. Gov. Larry Hogan wrote, “Instead of listening to his own public health experts, the president was talking and tweeting like a man more concerned about boosting the stock market or his reelection plans.”
The Biden campaign jumped on the news saying, “Almost 140,00 Americans have lost their lives and millions more have lost their jobs because of Donald Trump’s failed leadership. The Trump campaign’s game of musical chairs won’t fix this.”
Senior-level campaign sources tell ABC they were shocked and did not know the change was coming. Some close to the president don’t expect the campaign shakeup to have much impact because the president doesn’t often follow the campaign’s messaging.