Amid a mountain of lousy polling and stark warnings from allies, Trump has acknowledged his reelection afflictions to close associates.
WASHINGTON D.C. (Politico) – Since his Tulsa rally, Donald Trump has reluctantly accepted that he’s behind, according to POLITICO. He has privately come to that grim realization in recent days, multiple people close to him told POLITICO, that he’s on course to be a one-term president.
Trump has survived what aides describe as the worst stretch of his presidency, blemished by extensive criticism over his response to the pandemic and countrywide racial unrest. His rally in Oklahoma last weekend, his first since March, turned out to be an embarrassment when he failed to fill the stadium.
Add to that what should have been a relaxed interview with Fox News host Sean Hannity on Thursday, horrified advisers. Trump offered a rambling, non-responsive answer to a simple question about his goals for a second term. In the same appearance, the usually self-assured president offered a tacit acknowledgment that he might lose when he said that Joe Biden is “gonna be your president because some people don’t love me, maybe.”
In the hours after the interview aired, questions swirled within his inner circle about whether his heart was indeed in it when it comes to seeking reelection. Interviews with more than a half-dozen people close to Trump described a reelection effort badly in need of direction — and an unfocused candidate who repeatedly undermines himself.
Former Trump political adviser Sam Nunberg said: “Under the current trajectory, President Trump is on the precipice of one of the worst electoral defeats in modern presidential elections and the worst historically for an incumbent president.”
Nunberg pointed to national polls released by CNBC and New York Times/Siena over the past week showing Trump receiving below 40 percent against Biden. If Trump’s numbers erode to 35 percentage points over the next two weeks, Nunberg added, “He’s going to be facing a 400-plus electoral vote loss realistically, and the president would need to strongly reconsider whether he wants to continue to run as the Republican presidential nominee.”
Behind the scenes, Trump and his team are taking steps to correct the course. In the week since his Tulsa rally, the president has reluctantly conceded that he’s behind, according to three people familiar with his thinking. Trump, who vented for days about the event, is starting to take a more hands-on role in the campaign and has expressed openness to adding more people to the team. He has also held meetings recently, focusing on his efforts in individual battleground states.
Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, who effectively oversees the White House campaign, is expected to play an even more active role.
The internal moves have done little to calm Republican fears about the president’s performance. Fox News host and Trump’s favorite Tucker Carlson issued a blunt warning on his show this week that the president “could lose this election.” South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, another close Trump ally, told reporters that the president needs to make the race “more about policy and less about your personality.”
Trump’s team insists the president’s numbers are bound to improve as he steps up his public events and intensifies his attacks on Biden. People involved in the campaign say they have settled on two main avenues to go after the former vice president: That he’s beholden to liberals who want to do away with law and order, and that he’s a consummate Washington insider.
The campaign has begun a massive TV ad campaign going after the 77-year-old former vice president, including over his mental capacity and his nearly five-decade political career. Hoping to get the African-American voters, Trump’s campaign runs ads slamming Biden over his central role in the 1994 crime bill.
The commercials are airing in an array of states, including Georgia, a traditionally red state where Trump suddenly finds himself fighting. The cash-flush campaign is expected to remain on the TV airwaves in a host of crucial states through the election.
Trump advisers acknowledge that tearing down Biden will require a level of discipline he isn’t demonstrating. They have pleaded with Trump — who has used his Twitter account to vilify critics from MSNBC host Joe Scarborough to former National Security Adviser John Bolton — to stop focusing on slights that mean little to voters.
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