As President Trump prepares to officially run for re-election on Tuesday, his allies are trying to falsify the headlines that describe his campaign as high-ranking Democrats, beset by deadly leaks and unable to prevent internal tensions do not spread in the public eye.
The tragedy of 2020 intensified over the weekend, as Trump's election campaign was brutally fired by three of his investigators, including a polling house formerly owned by Kellyanne Conway, advisor to the president. former campaign manager.
In private and in public, campaign advisers mocked the leak of data from an internal poll that showed that Trump was far behind former vice president, Joe Biden, in key states – a trend that has touched the nerve of the president.
"Only fake polls show us behind Motley Crew," Trump wrote on Twitter on Twitter, referring to the overcrowded Democratic world. "We seem really good, but it's too early to focus on that. A lot of work to do! MAKE A GREAT AMERICA! "
But the first big public fall of the campaign – which resulted in a reshuffle of staff on the eve of Trump's reelection rally in Orlando – helped undermine his well-crafted efforts to nominate the president in 2020 as a fine machine. lapped ready to carry it out. a second term.
The president may seek to change the subject Tuesday at the rally, where he will address a crowd that he has already described as a record. He will be joined by First Lady Melania Trump, Vice President Pence, several family members and staff from the 2016 campaign.
Trump's advisers said the president's supporters, expected to occupy the 18,500-seat Amway Center, are not paying attention to the internal machinations of the campaign and will not be influenced by first signs of turbulence.
"Nothing will stand in the way of the tremendous kick-off and momentum that the President will have and will maintain throughout the day of the election next year," said the director. Trump campaign communications, Tim Murtaugh.
Trump will speak in Florida to show that the first two and a half years of his administration were devoted to "promises made" and "promises kept," advisers said. He will highlight the strength of the American economy and the many measures it has taken on issues ranging from taxes to military spending to judicial appointments.
While an economy characterized by low unemployment and sustained growth would normally be a crosswind for an incumbent president, the Trump campaign faces signs of a difficult path toward re-election.
The survey conducted in the March campaign in March, for example, showed that Trump was exceeding Biden by two figures in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Florida and Michigan, ABC reported on Friday. Trump's approval rating also held steady at around 40% throughout his tenure.
The campaign was intended to sever relations with pollsters headed by Brett Loyd, Mike Baselice and Adam Geller, while retaining investigators Tony Fabrizio and John McLaughlin, according to several officials in the know. Fabrizio called to dismiss the polls, officials said. He did not respond to requests for comments.
Of the three, only Loyd seems to be completely on the outs. He is President and CEO of Polling Company / WomanTrend, founded by Conway. Geller and Baselice are expected to travel to America First Action, a super pro-Trump PAC, and retain the confidence of the highest campaigners and good relations with the campaign, officials said.
Campaign leader Brad Parscale and president's son-in-law Jared Kushner supported the move. There has long been tension between Kushner and Conway, two senior White House advisers to Trump. These advisers said that the overthrow of the three companies was primarily aimed at striking it. Conway sold his polling station before joining the White House.
Baselice, founder of the Austinice & Associates polling company based in Austin, and Geller, founder and managing director of National Research, can start working for America First Action after an appropriate "downturn" period under the election laws.
Brian O. Walsh, president of America First Action, said the group would start running polls later this summer and called the polls premature.
"There is no major strategic prediction or decision that will be influenced by an investigation you will be doing in May or June 2019," he said. "It's very early in the process. At this point, Ronald Reagan was losing.
For his part, Trump has publicly denied the existence of internal polls showing him behind Biden, even as his campaign confirmed them.
The coverage of the poll has exasperated Trump, who has repeatedly encouraged his allies to downplay or deny the results. During a visit to his presidential parade in Iowa last week, when the subject of the ballot was discussed in an interview with George Stephanopoulos of ABC, Trump asked to call his campaign manager by phone, according to a person close to the conversation.
At that time, Trump asked to leave the file and spoke to Parscale polls. Parscale told Trump that the polls disclosed were the worst case, according to unfavorable models of participation to the president, said the official.
Since then, Parscale and Fabrizio have published statements describing the data as outdated and unrepresentative of the current breed.
"According to a more likely participation model inspired by 2016, and when a Democrat is defined, the race is not just competitive, the president is in the lead," Fabrizio said.
The poll also revealed Trump's presence behind Biden in Iowa, Ohio, North Carolina and Georgia – all of the states he won in 2016. Since the survey was conducted Trump notably intensified his attacks on Biden.
According to two advisers he spoke with last month, Trump remains optimistic about his prospects and says polls do not reflect his popularity. He highlighted the size of the crowd and the number of people interacting with him on social media.
Several campaigners said they were frustrated that the saga of polls had become a story of a week. One of these people said that the poll was essentially "meaningless", given the beginning of the campaign and the lack of definition of the democratic field. But the campaign and Trump's advisers "gave him life," said the person as she launched her campaign.
The councilors said talks were being held on how to attribute some of the country's economic successes to the president – and to make the election less a referendum on the president's behavior. They are increasingly frustrated by the fact that, according to polls, a majority believe that the country is economically on the right track and that they feel safe, but Trump's numbers remain stuck at 40% or less.
"Elections must be about something other than the behavior of the president or we lose," said a campaign advisor. But councilors said no effort was made to intervene because they would be useless.
Prior to Tuesday's launch, the campaign's communications team had been working more closely with reporters to help them gain insight into their operations. They boast of being much more professional and streamlined than the 2016 Trump campaign. But a campaign official said in the coming days, that the reelection effort might slightly recall his public comments – following the president's initiative and letting Trump speak for himself.
"Not only is the outgoing president, Donald Trump, the campaign manager, the director of communications, the political director," and so much more, Murtaugh said. "The campaign is an extension of him and as such, we follow his example absolutely."
In addition to the official campaign, Parscale has set up a bi-monthly teleconference with a group of loyalists from 2016, according to two people close to the call. The deal was reached after Trump called a number of former campaigners on a Saturday this spring and was frustrated that many were not heavily involved in the 2020 effort, according to a knowledgeable person. the situation.
The teleconference, which one of Parscale's flexible advisory committee members, will include former campaign director Corey Lewandowski, Donald Trump Jr., and a panel of advisors including David Urban, Michael Glassner and Katrina Pierson .
Most of the two dozen Democrats seeking to oust Trump have not spent much time discussing a poll that shows Trump could be defeated. After Trump's victory in 2016 has challenged most experts, it is feared that polls for 2020 will be wrong.
"Democrats should live in abject fear every day because it's double-digit because of a good economy and that's one guy who has managed to get the rabbits out of his family." you know what, "said Jeff Pollock, a Democratic pollster for the Global Strategy Group. "What voters think about the economy always says that if this guy could put together two sentences that do not [tick] people, so he could pull it out again. "
Guy Cecil, president of Priorities USA, conducted a poll last month concluding that Democrats could defeat Trump if elections were held in May, losing Florida but winning victories in Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. But in a public memo intended for fellow Democrats, he warned that the benefits could be overcome if Trump distracted attention from issues such as health care costs and low wage growth.
The constant attention to Trump's drama can play to his advantage, warned Cecil.
"It gives an unusually high amount of feed to opponents and the media in terms of distractions caused by real problems," Cecil said. "We end up talking about voting and its internal vote. We end up talking about a tweet that he did. "
Michael Scherer contributed to this report.