For a brief moment Tuesday morning, hearts raced, temperatures rose, and chests tightened: Matt Drudge was teasing a “SHOCK ANNOUNCEMENT” from the White House. Given the tumultuous state of the news, domestic and foreign, could this be a fresh bombshell?
In a word: Nah.
Instead, Drudge Report revealed that President Trump intended to run for reelection in 2020, with Brad Parscale, his 2016 digital guru, as campaign manager. (The Associated Press confirmed the news.) To borrow a phrase from Trump’s attorney John Dowd, the news turned out to be a nothingburger. For one thing, it’s not generally news that a first-term president intends to run for reelection—in fact, it’s the overwhelming norm, and the fact that anyone might think otherwise is a testament to how embattled Trump is right now. As Alex Burns pointed out, the first report of Barack Obama’s reelection campaign, including the identity of the campaign manager, came almost exactly eight years ago, at the same point in Obama’s presidency.
For another, Trump has been saying he’d run for reelection for more than a year now. He filed documents to do so the day he was inaugurated in 2017. More than a year ago, in February 2017, I reported on how Trump was holding his first reelection rally, paid for by his campaign.
To be sure, the Parscale news is intriguing, though given the rate at which Trump churned through top campaign officials in 2015-2016, it’d be risky to put too much stock in it. Parscale was plucked from obscurity in San Antonio to lead Trump’s digital efforts; the sophistication of his work remains under debate, and is partly connected with questions about Russian social-media interference with the election. Interestingly, Parscale is close to Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, who is somewhat on the outs at the White House over his inability to obtain security clearance. Parscale is also an interesting choice because his digital-campaign work is said to be a focus for Special Counsel Robert Mueller.