Show an ad over header. AMP

Scoop: Kushner changes top Trump campaign staff

Michael Glassner, the man who organizes President Trump's rallies, has been "reassigned," and Trump's 2016 Arizona chair Jeff DeWit will join the campaign as chief operating officer to oversee the final stretch to election day, three sources familiar with the situation tell Axios.

Driving the news: Jared Kushner engineered these moves. Glassner, a Trump campaign original dating back to 2015, has been told he will now be handling the campaign's various lawsuits, sources say.


  • DeWit, a Kushner ally, is a businessman and former Arizona state treasurer who served as chief financial officer of NASA under Trump from 2018 until earlier this year.

Between the lines: One person familiar with the shake-up defended Glassner as the unfortunate guy whose head needed to roll for the Tulsa rally debacle, where the attendance was nowhere near what the president had anticipated.

  • "Michael didn't really make many mistakes [at Tulsa]," the source said. "He did what he always did, and it just didn't work post-COVID."
  • "I think he knew he was going to take the punishment for this," the source added. "It was on his watch."
  • But a second person familiar with the decision pushed back, saying it wasn't fair to blame Glassner and that he was ultimately going to be reassigned to a different role regardless of what happened in Tulsa.
  • This source said Glassner had been filling the role during the "ramp up stage" of the campaign but "was never intended to be the chief operating officer for the final stretch."

The backstory: Kushner had been talking with DeWit for a couple of weeks about coming into this role, per a source familiar with the discussions. In 2016, Kushner brought in DeWit to help him oversee the campaign's budgeting, finances and contracts.

  • In his 2020 role, DeWit will be doing "dynamic budgeting" for the Trump campaign, working with the finance team, reassessing the campaign's spending and keeping an eye on expenses as fundraising builds towards election day, according to that source.
  • DeWit will also be heavily involved with the rally operations like he was during the 2016 campaign.
  • Stephanie Alexander remains the campaign's chief of staff.

Trump campaign response: After Axios approached the Trump campaign with this reporting, communications director Tim Murtaugh responded in a statement, "This is not a reaction to Tulsa. Michael Glassner is moving into the long-term role of navigating the many legal courses we face, including suits against major media outlets, some of which will likely extend beyond the end of the campaign."

  • "He is one of the founding members of Team Trump and his dedication to the success of the President is unmatched."

Behind the scenes: Some in the White House have heaped blame on the Trump campaign for the small turnout in Tulsa, even though the president was adamant about making a large rally happen immediately and earlier than some on his team thought prudent.

  • Some of the president's advisers now admit privately that they underestimated how scared their elderly supporters would be to join an indoor, mostly mask-free crowd, without social distancing.
  • The Trump campaign has to quickly figure out how to make rallies work in the age of coronavirus.
  • The old way of doing rallies was basically telling Glassner to go get it done, but that approach collapsed in Tulsa. A larger team is expected to handle Trump rallies going forward, with myriad additional considerations including legal liability, health guidance and local government regulations.

The big picture: As Axios reported, Trump's advisers are sounding alarms about his re-election prospects to a degree we've not heard since the president entered the White House three and a half years ago.

Facebook auditors say it's failing on civil rights

The findings from a new civil rights audit commissioned and released by Facebook show that the tech giant repeatedly failed to address issues of hatred, bigotry and manipulation on its platform.

Why it matters: The report comes as Facebook confronts a growing advertiser boycott and criticism for prioritizing freedom of speech over limiting misinformation and protecting users targeted by hate speech.

Keep reading... Show less

Sports in the coronavirus era might need an asterisk

American sports leagues are back, and COVID-permitting, we're finally entering the period of uninterrupted sports bliss we've been anticipating for months.

The question: Given the unusual circumstances, it's worth considering how each season will be remembered years from now. So we pose the question: Do sports in 2020 need an asterisk?

Keep reading... Show less

What China's uneven economic recovery means for the U.S.

Adapted from Institute of International Finance; Chart: Axios Visuals

China and much of Southeast Asia look to be bouncing back strongly from the coronavirus pandemic as stock markets and much of the country's economic data are returning to pre-pandemic levels.

What's happening: "Our tracking points to a clear V-shaped recovery in China," economists at the Institute of International Finance said in a note to clients Tuesday, predicting the country's second-quarter growth will rise above 2% after its worst quarter on record in Q1.

Keep reading... Show less

Chief Justice John Roberts was hospitalized in June after fall

Chief Justice John Roberts was hospitalized overnight after a fall on June 21, a Supreme Court spokesperson confirmed to the Washington Post on Tuesday.

Why it matters: Speculation regarding justices' health — given their lifetime appointments — always runs rampant, and this incident may have not been made public if the Post hadn't "received a tip."

Keep reading... Show less

Congress vs. tech's gang of four

The CEOs of tech's four leading giants will defend their industry's growing concentration of power from critics on both right and left who view them as monopolists when they testify, most likely virtually, before Congress on July 27.

Why it matters: The joint appearance by Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, Apple's Tim Cook, Amazon's Jeff Bezos and Google's Sundar Pichai will mark a historic collision between the leaders of an industry that has changed the world and political leaders who believe those changes have harmed democracy and individual rights.

Keep reading... Show less

As pandemic rages, Trump left without news to rally around

Data: Newswhip; Graphic: Axios Visuals — Note: Hover over the graphic on desktop to see weekly articles and interactions for candidates and issues.

The three topics generating the most intense interest online are the coronavirus, racial injustice and foreign policy, according to data from NewsWhip provided exclusively to Axios — and all are issues that are working against President Trump right now.

Why it matters: Storylines in Trump's populist sweet spot that carried the news cycle for much of his presidency — immigration, trade, a strong economy — have fallen away during the pandemic.

Keep reading... Show less

Coronavirus deaths rising in hotspots like Arizona, Florida and Texas

Data: The COVID Tracking Project; Note: The U.S. daily count had an anomalous spike on June 25 due to New Jersey recording a large number of probable deaths; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Coronavirus deaths are ticking up in the new hotspots of Florida, Texas and Arizona, even as they continue to trend down nationally.

Why it matters: As infections soar, deaths will inevitably follow. And infections are soaring.

Keep reading... Show less

Podcast: Facebook ad boycott organizers speak out on today's meeting with Zuckerberg

Facebook is in the midst of the largest ad boycott in its history, with nearly 1,000 brands having stopped paid advertising in July because they feel Facebook hasn't done enough to remove hate speech from its namesake app and Instagram.

Axios Re:Cap spoke with the boycott's four main organizers, who met on Tuesday with CEO Mark Zuckerberg and other top Facebook executives, to learn why they organized the boycott, what they took from the meeting, and what comes next.

Insights

mail-copy

Get Goodhumans in your inbox

Most Read

More Stories