Turns out you need a thick skin to run a presidential campaign for a mercurial reality-TV star.
Faced with plunging polling numbers, President Donald Trump blew up at campaign manager Brad Parscale on the phone Friday, yelling at the former San Antonio-based web designer and threatening to sue him, according to a CNN report citing people familiar with the matter.
The call came as the White House did damage control over Trump's suggestion that injecting disinfectants might cure the coronavirus. The president was also frustrated as aides urged him to soften his rhetoric and stop running his mouth at coronavirus briefings, according to the story.
However, CNN added, it's unclear how serious the Trump was about the lawsuit.
During the 2016 campaign, Parscale — now a Florida resident — was quickly elevated from co-owner of an Alamo City design firm into a member of the Trump family's inner circle. He's since racked up millions in billings for his political work, according to federal filings.
Verbally dumping on Parscale was only the most recent manifestation of Trump's anxiety over his dimming reelection prospects, according to CNN. As one Republican close to the White House told the network: "He's pissed because he knows he messed up in those briefings."
Trump's response to the CNN report was predictable: he took to Twitter and blasted it as "Just FAKE NEWS!" The president also added that he never shouted at Parscale and "have no intention to do so."
Just told that Fake News @CNN is falsely reporting that I was recently shouting at my campaign manager over made up nonsense. Actually, he is doing a great job, I never shouted at him (been with me for years, including the 2016 win), & have no intention to do so. Just FAKE NEWS!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 30, 2020
The Twitter claim flies in the face of a lengthy ProPublica story last year, which touched on the sometimes frayed relationship between Trump and the political neophyte he placed in charge of his online strategy.
According to the profile, Trump once cornered Parscale and screamed "Where the fuck is my money?" after reading reports his campaign had paid the web guru's firm $94 million. Apparently, the confrontation ended when Kellyanne Conway sneezed on Trump, "distracting him from his fury."
Stay on top of San Antonio news and views. Sign up for our Weekly Headlines Newsletter.