The Trump operative who was running the campaign’s digital operations last year now claims that he had no idea that he was relaying tweets from Russian bots during last years election.
Brad Parscale, who now runs a pro-Trump Super PAC, said he was not aware that Twitter, Facebook or any other platform were populated with Russian operatives who were trying to influence voters when he retweeted a comment about media bias from an account masquerading as belonging to Tennessee Republicans.
Speaking at The Web Summit tech conference in Lisbon, Parscale said:
“I don’t think Twitter posted a Russian flag with the IP address of other entities. I retweeted lots of tweets. Millions of people retweet tweets. You don’t have any idea who’s behind that account. I agree with the message that the media was biased. Did I have any idea who was behind that? No.”
The digital operations director blamed the social media companies themselves for the problem.
“I don’t want Russia or any other entity to meddle in our election more than any other American,” Parscale said. “However, I think the scale and the scope of it was pretty tiny. I think Facebook and the platforms should probably regulate and make sure foreign entities don’t come in. That’s their responsibility probably, and the government and Facebook can figure that out.”
Parscale also revealed details of Trump’s digital operations during the campaign, saying that using Facebook as a marketing platform helped Trump raise $280 million with ads that were low cost but highly effective.
He said the campaign was running as many as 150,000 different pieces of creative online, with multiple programmatic buyers running across Facebook, optimized based on people’s preferences for video versus text, long form versus short form. The types of messages also varied based on the geographic locations of the target audience.
Asked how Trump could ensure a successful path to winning the next election, Parscale suggested that the President “keep tweeting”. Given the content of Trump’s tweets since the inauguration, the jury is still out as to whether his Twitter habit will be an asset or a liability if he manages to continue in office until the next election.