The move was the culmination of multiple elevations and additions to Team Trump earlier this year that amounted to alleviating Parscale of certain key responsibilities, even if he remained at the time as a campaign manager in title. For instance, Stepien and Jason Miller, another top Trump 2020 official who previously worked as a senior aide on the 2016 team and Trump presidential transition, had for weeks largely taken the helm on strategy, with Parscale generally focusing on duties that the president tweeted on Wednesday evening would remain in his portfolio after the demotion, according to two sources familiar with the matter.
In substance and assignments, “this ‘shakeup’ happened weeks ago,” one of these individuals said. “Difference [tonight] is that it’s now official in everyone’s titles.”
For Stepien, this promotion was years in the making. In late 2017 and very early 2018, before Parscale was publicly announced as Trump’s 2020 campaign chief, Stepien was on the shortlist for that job, with several of his allies in and out of the administration aggressively advocating to Trump and his inner circle that Stepien should be selected, three people with knowledge of this say. Apparently, this push became too forceful and “irritating,” as one of these sources characterized, and consequently chafed certain senior administration officials and top Trump advisers, partly contributing to Stepien’s odds plummeting at the time, these sources said.