Brad Parscale: Trump names 2020 election campaign chief

image copyrightEPA
image captionBrad Parscale was digital director during the Trump campaign

US President Donald Trump has picked one of his political strategists as campaign manager for his 2020 re-election campaign.

The Trump Organization hired Brad Parscale in 2011 as a digital guru.

He was asked in 2015 to create a website for Mr Trump's exploratory White House bid and a year later became the campaign's digital director.

This is thought to be the earliest any incumbent US president has officially declared his re-election campaign.

There are 979 days to go until the 2020 election. President Barack Obama announced his re-election plans 582 days before his 2012 bid for a second term.

Why was Parscale chosen?

The president's son, Eric Trump, said in a press release on Tuesday: "Brad is an amazing talent and was pivotal to our success in 2016.

"He has our family's complete trust and is the perfect person to be at the helm of the campaign."

The president's son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, said in a statement: "Brad was essential in bringing a disciplined technology and data-driven approach to how the 2016 campaign was run.

"His leadership and expertise will be help [sic] build a best-in-class campaign."

Parscale likes attention

Analysis by Tara McKelvey, BBC White House reporter

He's a man eager to tell his story. That was the impression that Brad Parscale made in December 2016 when he walked through the Trump Tower lobby in New York.

When I asked what he knew about the new administration, he joked: "I know everything."

He explained how he'd helped win the election (they knocked on a lot of doors) and yet had gone virtually unnoticed at the Republican National Convention: "No one knew I existed."

He came across as a bit of a show off, a fatal flaw in Trumpian politics (the president doesn't like it when someone steals thunder).

Later I saw Mr Parscale on 60 Minutes, explaining how he'd used Facebook to help Trump win.

Mr Parscale likes attention, and he's got it now: the president - and many others - will be watching his next move closely.

Is Parscale involved in Russia inquiry?

Mr Parscale, 42, of San Antonio, Texas, has been targeted by Democrats investigating alleged Russian meddling in the US election.

He was interviewed behind closed doors last year by the House Intelligence Committee inquiry into the matter.

Mr Parscale said he had told lawmakers he had no knowledge of the alleged Kremlin plot to influence the campaign in favour of Mr Trump.

Last July, he tweeted: "I am unaware of any Russian involvement in the digital and data operations of the 2016 Trump presidential campaign."

What was Parscale's 2016 role?

Mr Parscale told a CBS 60 Minutes programme last year that his 100-strong digital team created up to 60,000 ads on Facebook to reach Trump supporters every day.

But he said Mr Trump had rebuked him because he was sceptical about digital ad spending.

Mr Parscale said Mr Trump shouted at him: "I don't believe in this mumbo-jumbo digital stuff."

media captionWhat the world thinks of Trump

The digital guru's firm, Giles-Parscale, billed the Trump campaign $94m for its work on the election, according to US media.

Mr Parscale told 60 Minutes he projected Mr Trump's eventual path to victory in the US Midwest.

"I took every nickel and dime I could out of anywhere else," he said. "And I moved it to Michigan and Wisconsin."

Mr Parscale hired the British data analysis firm Cambridge Analytica to work for the Trump campaign.

On Tuesday, the chief executive of Cambridge Analytica was grilled by British MPs over its role in the US election and Brexit.

The firm - which claims to have up to 5,000 data points on every adult in the US - is credited by some with helping Mr Trump win the presidency.

Didn't Trump already launch re-election?

The Republican president quietly filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission shortly after his inauguration last year to form a committee for a re-election bid.

The campaign fundraising has been ongoing, gathering $22m (£16m) by the end of 2017.

It is little surprise that an incumbent US president would run for a second term.

"Of course he's running for re-election," White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in June 2017 during a press briefing.