President Donald Trump’s campaign has named Jeff DeWit as its chief operating officer, replacing Michael Glassner, less than five months before the election and as polls show him lagging his Democratic challenger, Joe Biden.
The reshuffle, according to two people familiar with the matter, came as top donors were becoming more concerned over the management of the campaign and Trump’s falling poll numbers. The reelection operation has struggled to respond to crises, including the coronavirus pandemic, the economic damage it has wrought and the growing demands for racial justice.
The changes were orchestrated by Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and a White House adviser, according to another person. He has played an influential role in the campaign though he is not officially part of it.
DeWit was the chief financial officer at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration from March 2018 until February, and the COO of Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. Glassner, who worked on that effort as well, has been chief operating officer since December 2016.
Glassner will focus now on legal matters with the campaign, campaign spokesman Tim Murtaugh said in an email late Tuesday night.
The shakeup, first reported by Axios, comes at a critical moment for the president’s campaign and his administration. Trump has been widely criticized for his responses to the pandemic, which has surged anew in several states; the widespread protests that began after the death in police custody of George Floyd, a Black man in Minneapolis.
Less than two weeks ago, the president drew a disappointing crowd to a rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, that had been presented as a revival of his election fortunes.
“This is not a reaction to Tulsa,” Murtaugh said. “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.”
© 2020 Bloomberg News
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.