On Tuesday morning, Drudge Report announced that President Donald Trump would be making some big news. Major news. Given the multitude of issues currently in play right now, whether it’s guns, North Korea, the ongoing Russian investigation and immigration, Trump certainly had an array of options when it came to making an announcement.
However, when Drudge finally dropped the news, it wasn’t all that surprising.
Everyone already assumed Trump would run for reelection. If there was anything surprising about the news, it was that A) Trump filed for re-election on the day he took office and B) he was naming Brad Parscale, the president’s digital media director, as his campaign manager.
Parscale has been associated with Trump since 2011 when he began working for the Trump Organization, helping them build and develop websites, and was the Trump campaign’s digital media director. Yet he is a relative unknown in Trump World, certainly not as well known as people like Jared Kushner, Kellyanne Conway and others.
So who is Brad Parscale? Here is what you need to know about the Trump 2020 Campaign Manager.
1. Parscale First Stared Working for the Trump Organization in 2011
Before he entered the Trump orbit, Parscale was struggling web designer, originally from Kansas and living in San Antonio, Texas. Parscale would reportedly set up shop among the web design books in a Borders bookstore in San Antonio, looking to attract customers who were looking to set up their own website.
“Hey, I know how to do what’s in that,” he recalls saying as part of his pitch to potential clients. “Do you need somebody to help you make a website for your business?”
At 6 feet and 8 inches tall and sporting a healthy beard, Parscale soon found himself working on his first project for the Trump family around 2010-2011 after receiving a call from Kathy Kaye, who at the time was the executive director of marketing and sales for the Trump Organization. Kaye had heard good things about the former college basketball player’s work and in a follow up email, asked him to submit a bid for a Trump project.
Parscale submitted a low bid and got the gig, a website for Trump International Reality, which is the Trump Organization’s luxury property brokerage.
“From the point I got hired, I [have] worked on something [for] Trump every day since then,” says Parscale.
Parscale would go on to work on projects for the Eric Trump Foundation, Melania Trump’s skincare line and Ivanka Trump’s retail brand.
2. When Donald Trump was First Starting His Presidential Campaign, the Family Turned to Parscale to Build the Campaign’s Website
When the Trump family reached out in 2015, the project they inquired about was significantly more important than the previous ones. Donald Trump was exploring the idea of running for president and they needed a website. They wanted Parscale to build it. Parscale, someone “not even all that into politics,” built a website for $1,500. When Trump entered the next phase of his campaign and needed to coordinate all of his digital advertising for the primaries, Parscale once again got the call.
“It was very organic, my growth within the Trump family,” Parscale told Fortune.
As Trump rolled through the primaries and then headed towards a general election showdown with the Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, Parscale thought the ride was over, that he would be jettisoned for someone with more political experience. But as the country learned over the course of the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump was not your normal candidate and has a tendency to value loyalty over everything else.
The Trump campaign set up shop in San Antonio, at one time, operating an office that employed more than 100 employees. Parscale’s digital operation dumped large sums of money into Facebook ads and according to Buzzfeed, Parscale “on some fundamental level, understood the aesthetic and appeal of Donald Trump.”
Parscale’s stature and prominence in the campaign grew, with one campaign veteran saying that overtime, Parscale “really became the campaign manager.”
3. After Corey Lewandowski was Fired in 2016, Parscale’s Role in the Campaign Grew
Corey Lewandowksi was fired as the Trump campaign’s campaign manager on June 21, 2016, a move that led to the tenure of Paul Manafort, as well as a promotion for Parscale. He would now be the campaign’s digital manager. Others in the campaign would become increasingly well known, but Parscale stayed under the radar, describing his role as the “campaign plumber.” If there was a job that needed doing, Parscale was there to do it.
“In 2016 and going forward, the thing that a campaign does every day is largely digital. The guy or gal who runs digital is, therefore, de facto in charge of the campaign,” said Gerrit Lansing, former chief digital officer of the Republican National Committee. “Parscale is really maybe one of the primary examples of what happens when a campaign needed their digital team more than really any other previous candidate.”
Parscale began working closely with Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and one of Trump’s most trusted advisor, on the campaign’s Facebook advertising.
During the campaign, the Trump campaign reportedly “spent $1.1 million on digital advertising through the firm of Parscale.” All in all, the Trump campaign paid Parscale $94 million for his work. Parscale didn’t pocket all that money though. He claims a large chunk of it went to outside vendors and in the end, his firm made $10 million from the campaign.
4. Parscale Operates a Digital Consulting Firm Based Out of San Antonio, as Well as the Nonprofit America First Policies
Since Trump moved into the White House in January of 2017, Parscale has remained involved with Team Trump, even though he has remained down in San Antonio. He has gone on to receive a good amount of credit for the Trump victory, but is quick to downplay his role.
“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 said. “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.”
Outside of politics, Parscale has stayed busy. In July of 2017 he sold the web production side of his businesses to CloudCommerce, a digital services company, for a reported $9 million. Giles-Parscale had been operating since 2011, back when Parscale was first contacted by the Trump Organization, and the company had done a good amount of work for the Trump Campaign.
Parscale now operates Parscale Strategy LLC., a firm aimed at attracting more big-name clients and projects. Parscale Strategy LLC is also involved in both the presidents’ re-election campaign and America First Policies, a social welfare nonprofit that was founded by former Trump advisors to promote the president’s agenda.
5. Parscale’s Height Drew Him to Basketball, But His First Love was Computers
Given his physical appearance, it’s somewhat of a mystery how Parscale has managed to avoid the spotlight so well. At 6’8″, he’s not exactly someone you miss when he walks into a room or makes his way through the lobby of Trump Tower.
Parscale was born in 1976 in Topeka, Kansas and growing up, he “never showed any interest in politics,” according to his father, Dwight Parscale. “When you’re 6-foot-8, it’s hard to be a bad basketball player.” Parscale played basketball throughout high school and went on to play for two junior colleges before ending up at the University of Texas at San Antonio, where he played before a knee injury cost him his scholarship. He finished his college career at Trinity University.
Yet despite his passion for basketball, Parscale was big into computers starting at an early age, attending his first computer camp before he was seven years old. His father says that Parscale took to computers “like a fish takes to water” and after he attended that camp “he was a very demanding child. He always wanted the newest and best computers, which his mother and I of course happily provided to him.”
After college, Parscale moved to California, where he worked as a sales and marketing director for a software company. He returned to Texas in 2004, when he set up Parscale Media. In 2011 he formed Giles-Parscale with Jill Giles of Giles Design.
Parscale is married to Candice Blount. The couple has one child.