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Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Parscale steps away from Trump campaign as wife denies physical abuse


Brad Parscale, a senior adviser to Donald Trump’s campaign who was involuntarily detained by police this weekend, said he is stepping away from the reelection effort and seeking help for what he called “overwhelming stress” on him and his family.

In a statement provided to POLITICO on Wednesday, Parscale’s wife, Candice, also denied that Parscale physically abused her, despite a police report which said she told authorities the contrary.

“The statements I made on Sunday have been misconstrued, let it be clear my husband was not violent towards me that day or any day prior,” she said.

Parscale, 44, was demoted as campaign manager in July as the president’s poll numbers cratered. Long one of Trump's closest aides, Parscale remained on the reelection effort in a limited capacity: He made trips from his home in Florida to the campaign’s Arlington, Va. headquarters and worked on digital projects, including producing videos for the Republican National Convention.

“I am stepping away from my company and any role in the campaign for the immediate future to focus on my family and get help dealing with the overwhelming stress," Parscale said in the Wednesday statement.

According to a statement she gave to police, Candice Parscale fled their waterfront Fort Lauderdale home after watching her husband cock a handgun. Police reports and video footage depicted a chaotic situation, with Candice Parscale telling law enforcement that her husband was “ranting and raving.”

Police arrived at the home after receiving a call from Terry Bethal, a real estate agent who spotted Candice Parscale while showing a home nearby. While the two huddled in Bethal’s car, the 41-year-old Parscale told a 911 dispatcher that she initially heard a loud noise and thought her husband might have shot himself.

In the police reports and on the call, Candice Parscale said her husband had been making suicidal comments and was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. Police also said they spotted "larged sized contusions” on Candice Parscale’s arms, cheek, and forehead.

Police eventually coaxed Parscale out of his house. Body camera footage released by the Fort Lauderdale police department showed the 6-foot-8-inch Parscale — shirtless and holding a beer can — being tackled by law enforcement. After officers placed handcuffs on him, Parscale told them repeatedly, “I didn’t do anything.”

The Trump aide was detained under the Baker Act, which allows people who are deemed to be a threat to themselves or others to be involuntarily held.

After serving as digital director on Trump’s 2016 campaign, Parscale helped to lead the pro-Trump super PAC. He was named campaign manager for the reelection effort in 2018. A trusted confidante of Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, he developed a close relationship with the president and his family.

“We hope only for the best for Brad and his family,” said Tim Murtaugh, a Trump campaign spokesman.

While Candice Parscale said in her Wednesday statement that her husband did not hit her, police say she told them otherwise. Steven Smith, a SWAT team member who responded to the residence, said in his report that “when I asked how she received the bruising, Candace [sic] Parscale stated Brad Parscale hits her.”

Another officer, Timothy Skaggs, said he identified bruises on Candice Parscale’s arms. Skaggs said she told him they “occurred a few days ago during a physical altercation with Bradley, which she did not report.”

In the 911 call, Bethal can also be heard asking Candice Parscale about the markings. “What are those bruises? Oh no. Did he do that? Oh my gosh, your arm. Has he been hurting you?”
Parscale did not audibly answer.

A Florida judge late Tuesday granted Fort Lauderdale police the authority to seize all guns and ammunition from Parscale, with a final hearing set in October. In its request to the court that the guns be taken, police said “further investigation has revealed that Mr. Parscale’s drinking and violent behavior increased shortly after he was demoted at his employment.”

The Parscales have told people they are suffering from ongoing distress over the loss of their twin children in 2016, both of whom died prematurely. They have also complained about the scrutiny surrounding Parscale’s tenure as campaign manager.

The couple said in a joint statement Wednesday: “We extend our thanks for everyone’s thoughts and support during this difficult time for our family and we eagerly await all of the facts emerging.”



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