Everyone was surprised when President Donald Trump, in the midst of declining poll numbers and less than four months before the election, replaced his campaign manager Brad Parscale with veteran Republican Bill Stepien.

“I am pleased to announce that Bill Stepien has been promoted to the position of Trump’s campaign manager,” Trump said on Facebook. “Brad Parscale, who has been with me for a long time and has led our tremendous digital and data strategies, will remain in that role while he is Senior Campaign Advisor. Trump and Parscale’s relationship had become increasingly strained, with the president upset by the publicity Parscale had received. But the straw that broke the camel’s back last month appeared to be a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, that drew an unexpectedly low crowd of about 6,200 people after Parscale boasted that more than a million people had applied for tickets.

The president was furious. The shake-up injected a familiar agitation into Trump’s 2020 campaign, which until now had largely avoided the regular staff turnover that dominated the 2016 president’s campaign and his White House. It comes as Trump has been battling his re-election campaign against presumed Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden while the country faces health and economic crises during a pandemic that has killed more than 135,000 Americans.

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