A few months ago, the first presidential debate was held on a stage filled with dozens of professional pundits and newsmakers.
But on Monday, the night before the first debate in St. Louis, a Trump aide was on stage.
The crowd cheered wildly as the candidate’s son, Eric, took the stage.
“He’s a real winner,” a woman shouted to the crowd.
“We love him!”
Trump’s son tweeted after the event.
“Big cheers for my son, @EricTrumpJr, who is in St Louis tonight for the first Republican presidential debate!”
Trump campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks later tweeted: “Big thanks to @realDonaldTrump for his support in the first GOP debate and for standing up to the dishonest media.”
Eric Trump Jr. tweeted the same thing the next day.
He called the crowd “biggest cheer I’ve ever heard” and said he was “looking forward to the debate.”
The Trump campaign said that the staffer, Daniel O’Neill, who was the campaign’s senior communications director during the debate, was at the event “to promote the @realDonaldTrump campaign’s new, nationwide digital advertising campaign.”
A spokesperson for Trump’s campaign said he and his family were in St, Louis “to give our support to the @Trump campaign as they continue to build their digital team.”
O’Neil, who has been with the campaign since February, has been seen at campaign events in Ohio and Michigan as part of the team’s digital marketing efforts.
He did not respond to requests for comment.
When asked if O’Neill was in the room during the Trump rally, Hicks said, “I don’t have that information at this time.”
O-Neill did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment.
On Wednesday, O’Neal told CNN that he was at a Trump rally in West Palm Beach, Florida, but he declined to provide any details.
“I’m just here to talk to our people about some really exciting stuff we’re doing and I’m not going to give you any details on the actual event,” he said.
O’neill has also been seen in other campaigns’ digital advertising and has been a key figure in the Trump campaign’s digital strategy.
The Trump camp did not provide any of O’Niel’s phone numbers to CNN, though the campaign did provide an email address and Facebook page for O’Donnell.
In an interview with ABC News in February, O-Neal said the campaign was looking to hire someone to work with him and that he had been offered a job at the campaign.
“If that’s true, I would love to do it,” O’niel said at the time.
In March, Oleg Deripaska, a former Kremlin aide and Putin confidant, told Bloomberg Politics that he would work with O’Reilly.
“There’s no doubt that Mr. O-Reilly is a very successful television host.
He is a highly respected person, an outstanding producer and a highly talented writer.
He’s going to be a good guy, he’s going the right way, and he has a lot of connections with Russia,” Deripasev said.
“But the reason I’m going to work on his show is because he is going to make us great.”
The two men have been in regular contact since the beginning of the campaign, and they have worked closely together in the past.
Trump campaign officials have said that O’nell was involved in drafting the Trump digital ad campaign.
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