President Donald Trump announced that his campaign manager, Brad Parscale, is being shoved out of his role given the failures the campaign has suffered over the past seven months.
In his place, for now, at least, will be Bill Stepien.
If that name sounds familiar, it may be because Stepien was part of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal, where, as punishment to Mayor Mark Sokolich, two of three toll lanes were closed during a Monday morning rush hour and weren’t reopened until Friday.
The court case quoted Bill Stepien’s name over 700 times, including an email in which he claimed, “It will be a tough November for this little Serbian.” The mayor was born in Fort Lee, and his lineage isn’t Serbian, it’s actually Croatian.
Christie fired Stepien for Bridgegate, not for racist slurs. If Stepien remains in the position on Election Day, it’s unclear if he’ll order bridges to be closed, one person online half-joked.
Bill Stepien could close strategic bridges on Election Day.
— Motown_Mike (@MotownMike2) July 16, 2020
Stepien is also not exactly the most politically astute individual. As conservative David Frum noted, a flattering Politico profile of Stepien in October 2018 quoting his heroic efforts to hold onto the House. Stepien swore that they wouldn’t lose more than 25 Republican seats on Election Day. The GOP lost 42 seats and the majority.
In October 2018 @politico ran a glowing piece about White House political director Bill Stepien's heroic efforts to hold Republican losses in the House to not more than 25 seats. Republicans lost 42 seats. https://t.co/Gd4lm07u8R pic.twitter.com/YaNiPzasFD
— David Frum (@davidfrum) July 16, 2020
“As one Trump adviser put it, the difference between losing 25 seats and 50 seats in the House ‘is very likely the difference of who stays in the building,'” Politico reported at the time. Ironically, not only did Stepien stay in the building, he was promoted to the top campaign job.
Speaking to CNN on Wednesday, former campaign manager to President Barack Obama, David Axelrod, explained that the problem isn’t exactly the leadership of the campaign being a white supremacist or a Chris Christie conservative, it’s the candidate. Trump, he said, will never stop tweeting his asinine attacks or suddenly become the president the country needs to manage the crisis before us.
Former Republican operative Amanda Carpenter similarly explained on CNN that no spinmeister could save Trump, not Stepien or even Kellyanne Conway.
Who is Bill Stepien, you ask? He's the guy Trump will blame on Nov. 4th for his historic loss. pic.twitter.com/yxoqx9vrWw
— Eric Davies (@edavies) July 16, 2020