President Trump's 2020 campaign manager Brad Parscale sits down to discuss the president's reelection odds on Thursday's broadcast of FOX News' 'The Story' with host Martha MacCallum.
MARTHA MACCALLUM, FOX NEWS 'THE STORY' HOST: So, let’s talk a little bit about something you tweeted yesterday. You said the president according to your internal polls has the highest numbers that you have ever seen him at. What number is he at in your internal polls?
BRAD PARSCALE, TRUMP CAMPAIGN MANAGER FOR 2020: Well, so, we’ve been monitoring him over the entire two year period and prior to that but it kind of started all over when he became president and he got into office. Watching the data, you know, I started to see this rise since he started making this fight. And I’m not surprised by it, because if you go back and you look, if you look at the people are kind of these swing voters, these people who possibly don’t like him for personality or different reasons, the number one reason they will vote for him is because of his stance on border security.
MACCALLUM: So, you’re not going to tell me what the number is. Our - - our CP has him at 42 percent right now. That’s an average of polls as you know.
PARSCALE: The way that I look at it is more relative. Like, you don’t have to look at an exact percentage. It’s - - it’s relativity based off the success of every day.
MACCALLUM: So you - - you credited Facebook in terms of your targeting strategy when President Trump won in 2016. How is your Facebook strategy going to change for 2020?
PARSCALE: Well you’ve got to understand, 2016 was a different race than what 2020 is now. As being an incumbent, we’re building a different operation now than we had in 2016. In 2016, it was very grassroots, as you know, the campaign sometimes at its best operated at a -- at a fraction of what probably was needed. It was mobile. It was changing. It was adapting. It was -- this was a man running his first candidacy ever.
In 2020 the operation’s different. This is going to be a much larger ground game. This is going to be -- this is going to - - entail new technologies, new things. Look, Facebook’s still going to have a play but we’ve already harvested really what we need off Facebook.
So, the way you have to look at this is, we try to harvest and bring people in to become direct contacts. Cell phone numbers, email addresses, things that we can have direct contact. A good candidate might have 4 to 5 million by Election Day. We’ll probably 40, 50, 60 million. We might possibly have everybody that could vote for the president in a direct contact method by Election Day. That’s what we’re spending this energy doing for this whole time.
MACCALLUM: So - - so that’s the kind of thing that President Obama used to work on. You know, whenever anyone came to a rally they’d ask them to, you know, register their information. Is that the same way that you’re doing it?
PARSCALE: Yes, but even on steroids. We’re doing more than any other president’s have ever done before.
MACCALLUM: How are you getting people’s information?
PARSCALE: Well that’s what we’re doing. That’s why the president announced me so early. People were like, what are you going to do 1,000 days out? What are you doing three years out? Well we’re doing top level funnel marketing and what that is, is we need to find every person who’s going to vote for the president and would vote for the president and go find them now. It’s a lot cheaper to go find them now, not when the - - when the - - the media gets all full and the - - and the commercialing and the advertising’s more expensive and we have to rush to find them. Why not find them three years out?
MACCALLUM: How are you finding them? Explain to people who don’t understand.
PARSCALE: All - - all - - all different kinds of advertising. I don’t want to give away all our secrets here on TV but there’s a lot of methods we use to get them in there. And we - - we find them, we find them all across America especially in key swing states.
MACCALLUM: Just give me an example.
PARSCALE: The other day during the - - the border fight we had an advertisement up that said, text TRUMP to 88022 and any Trump supporter can text on their phone, just pick it up and call 88022 and it will immediately suck them into our - - our system. And then they can start having direct contact with us, and when election time comes, when donations time come, we know how to speak to them because now we have their cell phone number.
MACCALLUM: So, before the Oval Office speech the other night you guys were fundraising off of that speech?
PARSCALE: No, we weren’t fundraising off that. What we do though is, when we’re doing advertising any time we’re fighting, when people say "Yes, I’m with you," we give them a chance to connect with us, fight with us, support us. It might not be asking for money. It just says come fight with us, and we give them a method to do that.
We have not directly fundraised off this other than some emails and some things to go out. Look, this is a fight for the American people and not for the president’s, you know, reelection account. This is a real argument that the president needs to make.
MACCALLUM: So in 2016, the success of the Trump campaign hinged a lot on what was called the rural revolt, voters who really hadn’t been reached out to in a long time. President Trump campaigned in places that they hadn’t seen candidates for a long time.
MACCALLUM: In the mid-term, we saw something different, which was coined a suburban revolt, if you will. College educated women who may have voted for President Trump or voted for Republicans who then switched over to Democrats. A lot of people believe Pennsylvania for, example, is no longer purple looking at 2020. That it’s - - that it’s blue. Do you agree with that and what are you going to do in Pennsylvania?
PARSCALE: Well, I don’t agree that the - - the data does not show there was a - - a suburban woman revolt. Actually between 2014 and 2018 there was no change in the vote in the Republican Party between suburban women, white women, educated.
If I look at the data right now in ‘20, and the same kind of data I was pulling in 2016, the president is light years ahead of where we were on election night in 2016.
MACCALLUM: So you spent about $44 million on Facebook last time around. Does that sound roughly - - what - - what kind of investment do you imagine in 2020?
PARSCALE: Well, it depends on how you look at it. I mean, we’re still spending millions of dollars across all the networks now. I mean, by the time we’re done spending, I imagine 2020 it will be nearly $1 billion. It’s just a different - - it’s a different game then. That game was over a few months. This game is over almost four years, because we can be fighting now.
So Democrats can go and fight against all of them right now, and then they have to come out of their convention and they have a three month run like we did last time. We’re already fighting now. We’re already building that. We’re already doing more than any campaign has ever done before, and we’re still two years out.
MACCALLUM: I want to ask you a little bit about Cambridge Analytica, and there was an association between your business and their business in the prior campaign. They obviously ran into a - - a huge headwind and basically blew up when it was discovered that - - that Facebook had given them proprietary information on people’s friend list and all of that.
MACCALLUM: But there are still a couple of people from Cambridge Analytica that are working on the 2020 campaign. Is that right?
PARSCALE: Look, when we - - I’ve said this several times. We never used any of that social graph information. We never used any psychographic data. We never used any of that stuff. I did hire employees out of Cambridge for staff, and they worked with us. I still work with a couple of those staff members, because they are talented people and they shouldn’t be punished because the people who ran the company didn’t know what they were doing, were not very good people.
I’m not going to blame on individual that helped us win the 2016 election by being smart at - - at other kinds of work, that had nothing to do with that, and blame them for something the media made a hype out of that had nothing to do with that and I had nothing to do with what Cambridge did at the top and other, you know, dumb things they did.
MACCALLUM: So you’ve said -- I just had a couple questions with regards to the Russia investigation. You’ve said that the Mueller investigation needs to end. Obviously it has not so far. There’s news this week that Paul Manafort was sharing 2016 polling data and information with a man named Konstantin Kilimnik. The FBI says that this individual has ties to Russian intelligence.
Here’s what our Judge Napolitano said about that revelation, which sort of inadvertently slipped out this week.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUDGE ANDREW NAPOLITANO, FOX NEWS JUDICIAL ANALYST: This shows that Bob Mueller can demonstrate to a court, without the testimony of Paul Manafort, that the campaign had a connection to Russian intelligence and the connection involved information going from the campaign to the Russians. The question is, was this in return for a promise of something from the Russians and did the candidate, now the president, know about it?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MACCALLUM: What do you say to that?
PARSCALE: Well at the time I had - - I was not in the position I ended up in the campaign, so I don’t actually know what occurred at that time. My role did not pick up until -- and I’ve said this multiple times, until after Manafort left in the vacuum of his - - his leaving I came in to kind of some of his operations. I don’t know anything about it, you know. I don’t know exactly what occurred. I’ll probably learn the same time you do what occurred.
MACCALLUM: Paul Manafort never said to you, can you give me some data? I need some information.
PARSCALE: I was not in charge of any data at the time.
MACCALLUM: You never had any interaction with him like that?
PARSCALE: I was not in charge of any data at the time. I was not in charge of data and other operations until after Paul Manafort left. .
MACCALLUM: So you had zero interaction with Paul Manafort?
PARSCALE: Well no. I talked to him – yes, never talked to him about that kind of stuff. The only thing we ever talked about were simple advertising website stuff. It was very simple at the time. I never had any kind of communication about that stuff.
MACCALLUM: And any indication that the information that he asked for could have ended up in the troll farms in St. Petersburg - -
PARSCALE: No idea.
MACCALLUM: - - people have been indicted for?
PARSCALE: As I’ve continued to say, I’ve never seen any kind of - - if symbolism or any kind of connection between the ads they’ve run (ph) or anything we’ve done. I’ve continued to say only on Facebook they only sent less than $10,000 and we spent - - and we spent over $70 million in visual advertising, and $10,000 is a - - is like a little microsecond of what we were doing and there’s just no way it had any impact.
MACCALLUM: All right, back to the campaign for a moment. There is speculation that the president could face a challenger from his own party. Mitt Romney was asked the other day if he would support the president. He said, "I’m going to see who’s running." John Kasich has said if there’s an opening and there’s an opportunity that it’s something that he would consider. What do you think would be the impact on Trump 2020 if that happened?
PARSCALE: Well I think the first thing is you have the most popular Republican president in American history. He usually goes anywhere from 87 to 90 percent approval rating with Republicans. That would probably be the biggest uphill battle in history.
You also have - - are going to have one of the strongest campaigns in history. You have a party which is now is the party of Trump. You see a following across this country about what Trumpism has become. I don’t think it’s a real thing, and I think it’s just a leftover of a few people that are upset that they never figure out how to consolidate the Republican Party. They never figured out how to win, and this president did. And I think you have some - - you’ve got some old Republicans that are a little sad that they were never important or relevant even close to as much as this president.
MACCALLUM: You know, some people flashback to Bush 41 and they say, well perhaps President Trump’s I will build the wall promise could echo read my lips, no new taxes. And if he doesn’t get the wall, that it could be -- the thing that helped him win the election in 2016 could sink him in 2020.
PARSCALE: Well this president can’t sign legislation -- or he can’t make legislation. He can sign legislation. So someone’s got to make legislation for him to sign it. So he can’t do both, and you can see here that this president’s going to fight with everything he has --
MACCALLUM: But it’s a campaign promise, nonetheless, just like read my lips, no new taxes.
PARSCALE: And he’s fighting for it every single day and he’s going to keep fighting for it, and he’s going to get border security and he has already gotten billions of dollars in border security.
MACCALLUM: Do you believe by the time the campaign rolls around we will have a wall?
PARSCALE: It’s not about just a wall. It’s about border security. It’s about cutting down on child trafficking.
MACCALLUM: But he said this over and over again during the campaign. Even when he was asked that, he said no, no. It is a wall. It’s a big concrete wall.
PARSCALE: Walls do work. But he’s also said multiple times, there’s places where we don’t need a wall. There’s natural barriers. There’s other ways to do it. It’s not all about a wall, but we do need a wall. Walls work great and I think that we need them. And he’s gotten billions of dollars already for one. I think he’ll finish a large portion of that wall and hopefully all of it, and that’s something that he’s working for. But border security is just broader than that and I think there’s a lot of things we need to do.
There’s child trafficking that’s a problem. There’s drugs pouring across these borders, and also it’s just an unfair world where people all over this world want to come to the -- probably the most open -- and is the most open legal immigration country in the world. And when one country floods in illegally, it limits all the other countries to have a fair chance at the same dream.
MACCALLUM: Are you concerned about the economy? What’s the number one issue do you think looking ahead of 2020?
PARSCALE: No, I think the economy’s strong. Look, it’s about jobs. It’s about growth in people’s real wages, and I think that’s occurring. I - - I think that the economy’s going to continue to be strong. I think the left’s worried about what’s happening, the success of Trump but I think they want to spin out a narrative across the media that it’s - - it’s in trouble. One day in the stock market - - stock markets go up and down. They’re like lungs. They continue to do that. They’ve been doing that for generations. You know, job growth in this country is just - - is just unreal. The success Americans are having all over this country is unreal and they’re going to vote for that in 2020. They always will.
MACCALLUM: Before I let you go. Would you rather run against - - against Beto O’Rourke or Joe Biden?
PARSCALE: Well, you know, I think Biden hasn’t had much of a success record in the past. You know, I don’t like to get into individual candidates, but I’m going to build the organization that’s ready to fight all of them, and this president’s going to be ready to fight all of them and they’re going to have a long ways to catch up with us.