Members of the Trump campaign are reportedly “pinning their hopes” on the possibility that the political landscape will change in the coming months. Those close to the campaign apparently believe that history will repeat itself and that Trump will find a way to pull an upset, as he did in 2016 when he ran against former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
“We were in dire straits in early October and mid-October” in 2016 and then the president “ran the script beautifully,” a Trump campaign official said.
Four years ago, Trump shook up his campaign twice. He hired veteran operative Paul Manafort — who was later convicted of tax and bank fraud — and quickly replaced him with Steve Bannon and Kellyanne Conway. Neither Bannon nor Conway are formally involved in the president’s reelection effort.
According to one individual familiar with the situation, the 2020 campaign manager Brad Parscale has been “sort of pushed aside” by Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, and White House adviser.
A former Trump staffer said that Kushner will most likely remain in charge of the campaign.
“Who within this family is going to say, ‘Fire Jared’? It’s just not likely he’s going anywhere,” the staffer said, explaining that Kushner and the president’s children were tasked with changing the campaign lineup in 2016.
Veteran Republican Party operative Ed Rollins told The Los Angeles Times that Trump’s campaign needs a staff shake-up because the president “bungled” the federal government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“He needs someone on his campaign who is really in charge and can dictate the strategy and message to the candidate,” Rollins said.
Polling suggests that most Americans agree with Rollins’ assessment of the president’s actions amid the coronavirus pandemic. According to an ABC News/Ipsos survey released on Friday, 67 percent of Americans disapprove of the way Trump has handled COVID-19.
Earlier this month, The New York Times similarly alleged that the president’s reelection campaign has been “paralyzed” by his erratic behavior. The publication’s sources also revealed that there are tensions between Kushner and Parscale, and that Parscale is being blamed for the “debacle” in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Trump’s Tulsa rally — which was advertised as a major comeback — was poorly attended, with television cameras capturing thousands of empty seats.
In recent weeks, the president’s allies have held discussions about his rally in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, reportedly looking for ways to avoid another major “embarrassment.”
On Friday, the White House abruptly canceled the New Hampshire rally, citing weather concerns.