Brad Parscale, Donald Trump's campaign manager, did not vote for President Trump in 2016. In fact, he didn't vote in the general election at all, according to election records obtained by CBS News. Bexar County, Texas Election Department documents show Parscale, then a San Antonio resident, voted in the 2016 primary but not in the general election. He did cast a ballot in the 2012 and 2018 federal elections. And his 2018 vote was submitted by mail.
"In 2016, I was in New York working to elect Donald Trump and encountered a series of problems receiving my absentee ballot from Texas and missed the deadline," Parscale said in a statement to CBS News. "Just further proof that vote-by-mail is not the flawless solution Democrats and the media pretend it is." President Trump, who voted by mail in the 2020 Florida primary, has complained the expansion of vote-by-mail is a gateway to fraud as states grapple with holding elections this fall amid the coronavirus pandemic.
"There's a vast difference between voting absentee by mail when you can't get to the polls on Election Day versus mailing every registered voter a ballot, even those who didn't request one. The media thinks they're playing 'gotcha' by purposefully ignoring that difference," Parscale said, adding that voter rolls often contain errors.
Parscale submitted his 2018 midterm ballot by mail. Election records show he applied to vote absentee about two weeks before Election Day.
He was hired by Mr. Trump before he announced his candidacy in 2015. He was brought on to build the campaign's website and eventually ascended into candidate Trump's inner circle, working closely with Mr. Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner on digital outreach. He was named campaign manager in early 2018.
Read more from Arden Farhi, Nicole Sganga, Sara Cook, and Eleanor Watson here.
FROM THE CANDIDATES
Joe Biden senior campaign adviser Symone Sanders believes her candidate is unique in his desire to hear from a variety of perspectives. In an interview with CBS News chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett for this week's episode of "The Takeout" podcast, Sanders said it was a "testament" to Biden that he had broadened his circle of advisers. "We have a good mix going on," Sanders said about the makeup of Biden's campaign. "And I do believe that's how we were able to, frankly, capture the nomination and that's how we'll defeat Donald Trump." Sanders also disputed that there was any sort of "palace intrigue" in the campaign, with different advisers jockeying for favor. "There is this notion that he may not be listening to some people, that there are some people that do not have his ear, and I would just like to dispel that myth. The strength of Joe Biden is the fact that he is a listener, he has empathy, he is always constantly critically thinking about things and how he can retool them and make them better," Sanders said. You can find the full episode of "The Takeout" podcast here.
Meanwhile, the Biden campaign has begun building out its operation in Arizona, naming a new state director (Jessica Mejía) and senior adviser (Andrew Piatt), reports CBS News campaign reporter Alex Tin. Mejía, formerly a regional director for EMILY's List and Hillary Clinton's 2016 campaign, was first tapped in October to serve as the campaign's California state director. Piatt, who managed Kyrsten Sinema's successful Senate campaign in 2018, was last a campaign director at The Hub Project, a dark money group that has dumped millions into funding left-leaning causes and attacking Republican candidates, including against Sinema's opponent Martha McSally. The Biden campaign had initially announced plans to debut more than 600 field and outreach staff by June but has yet to name even top staffers for many of the other states highlighted in their "Path to 270." However, while the Trump campaign has spent years building out its operation in Arizona and has far outspent the Biden campaign on the airwaves, Mr. Trump has continued to poll behind Biden in the state. "Jessica Mejia and Andrew Piatt have the experience, skill, and talent to help drive Joe Biden to victory in Arizona. This is just the beginning, we're excited to continue to expand our footprint in the state, bring on talented individuals to fill out our senior leadership team, and make Donald Trump a one-term President," Jenn Ridder, the campaign's director of states, said in a statement.
Mr. Trump will host one of his signature rallies, directly addressing supporters for the first time in over 100 days, in Tulsa, Oklahoma, at 7 p.m. CT Saturday. The details, which evolved amid mounting health and security concerns pinned to the pandemic and Juneteenth holiday, appear as misty as Oklahoma's 75% humidity, reports CBS News campaign reporter Nicole Sganga. Attendees originally expected to file into the 19,990 seat BOK Center arena at 10 a.m. local time, will now be forced to wait five more hours. Devoted Trump supporters, mounting tents and lawn chairs in a single-file line for the entire week leading up to the rally, have been pushed back beyond a widening security perimeter into part of a residential block. The city of Tulsa laid plans to enforce a curfew Friday and Saturday nights, but the president tweeted Friday afternoon that he spoke to Tulsa Mayor G. T. Bynum and there would be no curfew. "There will be no curfew tonight or tomorrow for our many supporters attending the #MAGA Rally. Enjoy yourselves - thank you to Mayor Bynum!" the president tweeted.
The"Tulsa World" story on Friday read "Like an approaching cyclone, the bits and pieces of what is likely to be a memorable and perhaps momentous weekend swirled about Tulsa." But beyond the analogy, literal thunderstorms are forecasted to strike during the president's remarks, throwing a wrench into campaign plans to host a day-long outside festival in the run up to Mr. Trump's arrival. At least three counter-protests — including one by Black Lives Matter Tulsa — will lead marches against hate and systemic racism on Saturday as 52 Trump surrogates and musical entertainment file into a packed arena. "Any protesters, anarchists, agitators, looters or lowlifes who are going to Oklahoma please understand, you will not be treated like you have been in New York, Seattle, or Minneapolis," Mr. Trump threatened in a tweet on Friday. "It will be a much different scene!"
Local health officials, Trump campaign surrogates and U.S. Senator from Oklahoma, James Lankford, have all urged seniors and people in high-risk health groups to stay home. "We're going to provide hand sanitizer," Marc Lotter, the Trump campaign's director of strategic communications, told CBS News. "We're going to provide temperature checks. But we would we would encourage that if you're worried about being in a high-risk group or someone in your household is of a high-risk factor, then maybe pass on this rally and come to another one later down the road." Mr. Trump praised Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt in a visit to the White House on Thursday. "One of the reasons we chose your state, Kevin, is you have done so well with the COVID," Mr. Trump told him. "You have handled it incredibly well."have skyrocketed in the state of Oklahoma this week. A total of 450 new infections were found statewide Thursday, exceeding the state's previous record of 259 that was reported Wednesday. Tulsa reported 82 new cases on Thursday and the state's total rose to 9,354. The president and Governor made no public mention of Oklahoma's COVID-19 surge , Thursday.
ISSUES THAT MATTER
On the heels of weeks-long protests across the world calling for an end to systemic inequities and justice in policing, CBS News campaign reporter LaCrai Mitchell notes that Juneteenth — the celebration commemorating the emancipation of enslaved black people in America—has received heightened national attention, 155 years later. On June 19, 1865, some of the last enslaved black Americans in Galveston, Texas, learned they were free, two years after the Emancipation Proclamation had been issued, declaring freedom for "all persons held as slaves" within rebellious states that had seceded from the United States during the Civil War. In an interview with CBS This Morning, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas said that making Juneteenth a national holiday "opens a whole world of discussion for America, a whole reckoning with racism, and the systemic racism that permeates the nation." Jackson Lee also added that she's pleased that there are more than 200 co-sponsors for a resolution to make Juneteenth a national holiday.
Mitchell adds political and community leaders across the country have weighed in on the national discussion and "reckoning with racism" that Jackson Lee described. In an op-ed published by Essence on Friday, Biden said that Juneteenth is a reminder of the nation's vulnerability to be "poisoned by systems and acts of inhumanity" but also, "reminds us, too, of our incredible capacity to heal, to hope, and to emerge from our darkest moments of cruelty into a better version of ourselves." In a statement issued by the White House, Mr. Trump said, "Juneteenth reminds us of both the unimaginable injustice of slavery and the incomparable joy that must have attended emancipation. It is both a remembrance of a blight on our history and a celebration of our Nation's unsurpassed ability to triumph over darkness."
Meanwhile, nearly 4,000 people logged on for the first-ever virtual social justice conference, JusticeCon: A Path Towards Freedom, reports CBS News Correspondent Nikole Killion. The all-day event, held on Juneteenth, highlighted what organizers call the "double pandemic" of COVID-19 and systemic racism. It was aimed at empowering leaders for social change through the "power of community, conversation and action." Headliners included Biden, Senators Chuck Schumer, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, and Elizabeth Warren, and Representative Val Demings. Civil rights leader Reverend Al Sharpton, National Action Network president, kicked off the conference that featured African American faith leaders, activists and grassroots organizations. Breakout sessions focused on the policing system, the future of the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as strategies for building political power and developing a policy agenda for black America. The event was convened by Faith for Black Lives, in partnership with The Greater Allen AME Cathedral of New York. "This moment requires a commitment to lift our collective voices to build a comprehensive strategy to redeem the soul of humanity to eradicate poverty, militarism, and racism," said Faith for Black Lives Chair and JusticeCon organizer Reverend Stephen A. Green.
During Demings' remarks, she spoke briefly about the power of unity and the hope of better days to come. Mitchell reports that using excerpts from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Demings asserted that as the country remembers Juneteenth, she believes the country will also continue to work together to form a more perfect union.
One day after the United States Supreme Court blocked the Trump administration from ending the DACA program, Mr. Trump said his administration will resubmit paperwork to end the Obama-era program, reports CBS News associate producer Sarah Ewall-Wice. On Thursday, the Supreme Court released its 5-4 decision with the majority opinion calling the effort to unwind DACA "arbitrary and capricious" under the Administrative Procedure Act. On Friday, the president tweeted that the highest court had "asked us to resubmit on DACA, nothing was lost or won." He described the decision as "punted" and said the administration would be submitting "enhanced papers shortly." Mr. Trump has been trying to dismantle the protections for undocumented immigrants who were brought into the United States as children since September 2017. He claims Democrats have abandoned DACA, but Democrats push back accusing him of trying to use Dreamers as a bargaining chip. Efforts to pass immigration reform legislation that addresses both Dreamers and border security failed in 2018 despite Republicans having control of both chambers of Congress. The latest CBS News polling found 85% support allowing immigrants brought into the country as children to stay.
Ahead of President Trump's rally Saturday in Tulsa, the Democratic National Committee took out a full page newspaper ad in a historic black paper in Tulsa, the Oklahoma Eagle. The move coincides with Juneteenth. The ad references remarks from Mr. Trump in 2016 when he asked "what do you have lose?" while addressing African-American voters on the campaign trail. The ad reads, "What do we have to lose? A lot. We've lost jobs. We've lost lives." It goes on to claim "this administration failed us" and reminds viewers to check their voter registration status. Meanwhile, several anti-Trump television ads are also airing in Tulsa ahead of the rally. Republicans for the Rule of Law placed an ad with Republicans stating why they are not voting again for Trump in 2020. The Lincoln Project also had two ads in Tulsa including one focused on the appearance of the confederate flag at Trump rallies, while the other juxtaposes the words of Martin Luther King Jr. and Bobby Kennedy with those of George Wallace and President Trump.
At the same time, the pro-Trump PAC America First Action launched a new round of ads in the battleground states, notes CBS News associate producer Sarah Ewall-Wice. The investment includes $3.5 million in Pennsylvania, $2.25 million in Wisconsin and $1.75 million in Michigan, with spots taking aim at Joe Biden's economic and trade policies. In the Michigan ad titled "Warned" and the Wisconsin spot titled "Wrong," the narrator slams Biden for his support of NAFTA while claiming Biden can't be trusted to protect jobs in those states. In the Pennsylvania spot titled "Warned," the PAC claims Biden wants to eliminate fracking (something his campaign refutes), meaning an end to jobs in the keystone state. The digital, cable, broadcast and mail investment run until the July 4th weekend.
The Trump campaign unveiled two new television ads on Friday ahead of his first rally back on the campaign trail since the coronavirus outbreak. One of the ads is titled "Just Getting Started." In it, the narrator attacks Biden for "failed, old, liberal ideas," before claiming Mr. Trump led the U.S. to the strongest recovery in history. It goes on to say he's "doing it again." The other ad titled "Fortitude" is a 30-second spot raising questions about Biden's age. "Joe Biden is slipping," the narrator begins before a few clips of Biden play mixed with the narrator calling him "clearly diminished" and questioning his strength and stamina. According to Kantar/CMAG, the ad first aired Friday morning in Florida. Despite the ad going after Biden's age, several recent polls show the 77-year-old former vice president leading Mr. Trump among voters over 65.
As the president heads to Oklahoma, Democrats in the state next up for a visit from Mr. Trump are up in arms over the stop, reports CBS News campaign reporter Alex Tin. "We're a growing hot spot. And I think it's very dangerous for him to be here," Democratic Congressman Ruben Gallego, a Democrat who represents the district neighboring the president's visit, said Wednesday on a press call for the Biden campaign. Attendees to the president's remarks next week will likely be required to wear a mask: Citing climbing COVID-19 cases, Phoenix mandated face masks citywide on Friday with only a handful of exceptions. In addition to the president's previously announced event with Students for Trump in Phoenix, a White House official said Friday that Mr. Trump is also headed to the Arizona town of Yuma for a "roundtable" on border security. The area hosts much of the Trump administration's recently constructed "new border wall system."
"From his failure to respond to the COVID-19 crisis to his disastrous border policies, President Trump has nothing to celebrate in Arizona," said Democratic Congressman Raúl Grijalva, who does not plan to participate in the president's visit to his district along the U.S.-Mexico border. "The only thing Trump has accomplished over the past few years is sowing division, demonizing those who are different, and leaving this country worse off in the long run."