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Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Kushner shakes up Trump campaign team

White House senior adviser Jared Kushner has engineered a shake-up in President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign in the aftermath of a botched Tulsa rally, according to three people familiar with the matter.

Kushner on Tuesday replaced chief operating officer Michael Glassner with Jeff DeWit, who held the same position in Trump’s 2016 campaign. The decision to remove Glassner, who has been overseeing the president’s rallies, is being seen internally as an effort to designate blame for the Tulsa disaster. The June 20 rally was marred by the sight of thousands of empty seats.

The news was first reported by Axios.

Glassner, one of Trump’s longest-serving campaign aides, is being shifted to a different role in which he will be helping to oversee the campaign’s various legal battles. Trump campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh said the decision was “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,” Murtaugh added.

But two people said the shuffle was a direct result of the Oklahoma rally and contended that Glassner was being positioned — perhaps unfairly — as the fall guy for the imbroglio. While Glassner has been active in arranging logistics for Trump’s rallies, few internally pointed the finger at him for the failure to fill the arena.

The move comes at a treacherous moment for the president, with polls showing him trailing Joe Biden by substantial margins. Kushner has been effectively overseeing the campaign from the White House, but with four months until the election, he is expected to become even more hands-on.

DeWit, a former Arizona state treasurer, is a Trump loyalist who played a key role in the president’s 2016 win. Trump later nominated him to serve as chief operating officer at NASA, a position DeWit stepped down from earlier this year.

DeWit had been in talks with Kushner for several weeks. In his new position, he will oversee everything from budgeting to the planning of events and rallies.

Trump, who has been mostly cooped up in the White House amid the coronavirus pandemic, has been eager to hit the trail. But the Tulsa failure has stymied his plans. The campaign has been weighing holding smaller events though it has yet to schedule any.

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