By Agence France-Presse
President Donald Trump has only just completed his first year in the White House, but he is already looking ahead to a 2020 reelection campaign, tapping Brad Parscale to get the ball rolling.
In a statement on Tuesday, Trump’s campaign announced the 42-year-old digital expert would begin preparing the groundwork for what already promises to be a long and highly divisive campaign.
It was not immediately clear whether Parscale would still be in place as campaign manager when the race begins in earnest.
But his appointment is another sign of what analysts have called America’s “permanent campaign.”
“Brad was essential in bringing a disciplined technology and data-driven approach to how the 2016 campaign was run,” said top White House aide Jared Kushner.
“His leadership and expertise will help build a best-in-class campaign.”
Before politics, Kansas-born Parscale — who sports a ZZ Top-style beard — had worked for the Trump Organization on digital marketing.
In 2016 he made a name for himself through a controversial effort to depress voter turnout among minorities, with a heavy focus on Facebook and Twitter.
That has put Parscale at the center of questions about possible Trump campaign collusion with Russia, which tried to tilt the election in the businessman’s favor.
Responding to a request from a Congressional inquiry, Parscale said that he was “unaware of any Russian involvement in the digital and data operations of the 2016 Trump presidential campaign.”
He said the only collaboration involved working with staff from Facebook, Google and Twitter, the Republican Party and controversial data firm Cambridge Analytica.
Trump’s decision to seek election comes as no surprise.
He filed the paperwork to register a reelection campaign less than five hours after being sworn in on January 20, 2017.