Spriester: A digital downgrade — San Antonio’s Brad Parscale demoted by President Donald Trump

The Trinity University graduate's passion for the Alamo City cannot be questioned

FILE - In this Thursday, March 28, 2019, file photo, Brad Parscale, manager of President Donald Trump's reelection campaign, throws "Make America Great Again," hats to the audience before a rally in Grand Rapids, Mich. Trump is shaking up his campaign amid sinking poll numbers, replacing Parscale with veteran GOP operative Bill Stepien. Trump and Parscales relationship had been strained since a Tulsa, Okla., rally that drew a dismal crowd, infuriating the president. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File) (Paul Sancya, Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

SAN ANTONIO – He is controversial, and in many ways, I think that’s just the way he likes it.

I first met Brad Parscale at San Antonio’s Rackspace, it was the day he was putting the Trump Campaign website online. He was nervous, on edge, but also extremely excited about a presidential campaign entrusting his San Antonio company with its digital welcome mat. I suspect neither of us knew where a simple campaign website would take him.

Tall, gangly and not short on opinions, Parscale would be at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland the next time I’d see him, he had to get approval from Donald Trump Jr. or Eric Trump before he could do an interview with me, at this point he was running the digital and social media side of the Trump campaign.

As I covered the convention I could see him scurry back and forth to where the Trump family was sitting, he was clearly becoming part of the inner circle. Months later, national news outlets gave Parscale’s digital work partial credit for a Donald Trump victory, he was riding high.

I would interview him at his office a few blocks off Broadway about Facebook targeting and digital ads that he believed made the difference in a close election. The last time I saw him was at Alamo Heights Argyle Club, he came in on Air Force One with the President, and was clearly in a hurry before our interview, but he didn’t need anyone’s permission to sit down with me. We talked about everything from Trump’s wall to the San Antonio mayor’s race — he was no fan of Ron Nirenberg since Parscale believed the mayor led the charge to turn down the Republican National Convention in San Antonio.

In that moment, in an alcove of the Argyle, Brad Parscale was in control of a huge campaign. That all clearly changed with a sparsely attended campaign rally in Tulsa last month and the president’s poll numbers heading the wrong way. The rumors of Parscale being demoted or fired have been around for months, and in a simple Facebook post on Wednesday night, the President made the demotion official.

I am pleased to announce that Bill Stepien has been promoted to the role of Trump Campaign Manager. Brad Parscale, who...

Posted by Donald J. Trump on Wednesday, July 15, 2020

READ MORE: Trump shakes up campaign leadership as he struggles in latest polls

I only know Brad through the interviews I’ve done with him, we don’t hang out, but I am struck that the Trinity University graduate always was proud of putting San Antonio on the digital business and strategy map. He has since moved to Florida, but he was always talking about the technology expertise and capabilities of the Alamo City, and how much he loved San Antonio. I think in some ways he thought the city turned its back on him because of who he worked for, and maybe some people did, but his roots and passion about San Antonio can’t be questioned.

I think that’s the dual dilemma that people who don’t like President Trump have with Parscale, that no matter what you think of his politics, you can also give him credit for shining a light on this city. I suspect, despite this demotion, we haven’t heard the last of Brad Parscale.     

About the Author

Steve Spriester started at KSAT in 1995 as a general assignments reporter. Now, he anchors the station's top-rated 5, 6 and 10 p.m. newscasts.

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