Trump allies admit he needs to make big changes to win — but the president is in denial
Donald Trump’s reelection faces a lot of challenges, but the biggest among them is probably Donald Trump. Many Republican strategists are sounding the alarm publicly, while Trump’s advisers are reportedly warning him privately that he needs to change his ways. So far, Trump is only willing to make changes around the edges, like hiring a few new campaign aides while keeping Brad Parscale as campaign manager and testing out some new insulting nicknames for former Vice President Joe Biden while continuing to embrace the racism and incompetence that have alienated so much of the country.
Case in point: On Sunday, former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie warned that if Trump “doesn’t change course both in terms of the substance of what he’s discussing and the way that he approaches the American people, then he will lose.” Also on Sunday, Trump tested out “Corrupt Joe” as an alternative to “Sleepy Joe,” which has been his favored insult for Biden. That’s not exactly a change of course in terms of either the substance or the way he approaches the American people.
Trump is busy trying to explain how he supposedly wasn't briefed on a Russian bounty program targeting U.S. troops, his pandemic response gets consistently low marks despite all his attempts to claim credit (for … something), he’s still trying to take people's health care, and on Sunday he effusively tweeted a video of a supporter yelling "white power," all while he tanks in public polling. “You can’t win with these numbers. They’re atrocious numbers,” admitted the co-chair of a pro-Trump super PAC.
Trump and his top advisers, though, insist the polling isn’t that bad. “Sorry to inform the Do Nothing Democrats, but I am getting VERY GOOD internal Polling Numbers,” Trump tweeted Monday. “Just like 2016, the @nytimes Polls are Fake! The @FoxNews Polls are a JOKE!” (While 2016 remains a cautionary tale, the 2020 polling is far, far clearer than the 2016 polling that Trump is in trouble.) Notably, none of these supposedly “VERY GOOD” internal polls have leaked. And plenty of Republicans are telling reporters stories consistent with the public polling.
”If the election was today, we are in big trouble,” an unnamed “person close to Trump” told The Washington Post. That’s what the public data says, it’s what the behavior of the Trump campaign says, it’s what Republicans say when they’re granted anonymity and even sometimes when they’re not. Once again, it comes down to the preponderance of the evidence vs. the claims of known liar Trump. Once again, it’s not a hard call what to believe.