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10 Jun 2020, 8:20 pm

As Trump struggles to respond to crises, internal polling instills fear in advisers: Sources

Quote:
One week ago President Donald Trump met with advisers from his 2020 re-election campaign, who greeted him with bad news.

The campaign's internal poll numbers showed the president down in swing states, and down with key demographics of voters including women and independents.

The messaging from the White House on the coronavirus pandemic and the growing anger about the brutal killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis was fueling a drop in his numbers. Top aides warned that former Vice President Joe Biden, now the presumptive Democratic nominee, was positioned to defeat the president by a significant number of electoral votes based on the campaign's analysis, according to multiple sources familiar with the meeting.

While some of the president’s advisers insisted the current campaign internal poll numbers aren’t relevant in gauging Trump’s re-election chances this far from November, others among his most loyal and longest serving advisers have developed a new posture: one of increasing alarm. They fear that without a course correction -- and quickly -- Donald Trump could lose the 2020 presidential election.

This account of the president and his advisers' struggle to respond to the ongoing crises and the political fallout is based on conversations with 17 sources including White House officials, campaign advisers and sources close to the president.

In the wake of the murder of George Floyd on May 25, some White House officials have been lobbying the president to give a formal address to the nation from the Oval Office to show he was taking the death and the growing protests around the country seriously. White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows was in favor of the idea. Meadows believed it was a moment for the president to deliver a message of unity, according to sources familiar with his thinking.

Others, like the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, were against such an address, arguing it could do more harm than good, according to four sources. A source close to Kushner disputed that categorization, saying instead the goal has been to announce a policy initiative that will have an impact.

The president has also been encouraged to participate in listening sessions with African American leaders, as he has hosted previously at the White House. But that idea was rejected by the commander-in-chief, according to sources.

A person who has attended similar events as a guest of the president previously told ABC News they heard from a White House official to "be on standby" for an event with the president, but then nothing ever materialized.

Trump is "not capable of showing empathy here," said the source, who is still a loyal supporter of the president.

Vice President Mike Pence, on the other hand, has participated in a number of listening sessions on the issue.

Meanwhile, earlier this week Trump held a roundtable with some law enforcement officials, but even then some sources in the White House took issue with the meeting because the number of White House staff seated around the table outnumbered the outside attendees.

The White House is preparing to announce a number of proposals later this week related to race and policing, but the rollout has yet to be determined.

Many top advisers concede that these proposals are often overshadowed by controversial statements coming from the president’s Twitter account. Days in the West Wing are so often dictated by what he tweets and impact whatever the goal for the day was initially set out to be.

Many top advisers concede that these proposals are often overshadowed by controversial statements coming from the president’s Twitter account. Days in the West Wing are so often dictated by what he tweets and impact whatever the goal for the day was initially set out to be.

One such incident occurred on Tuesday when the president tweeted to his over 80 million followers promoting a conspiracy theory where he made unfounded allegations against a 75-year-old protester, Martin Gugino, who was pushed to the ground by police in Buffalo, N.Y. last week and was seen bleeding from the head, motionless. At the time of the tweet Gugino was still in the hospital, and the two police officers involved in the incident have been charged with assault. The president was citing a bizarre report by fringe right-wing television network One American News, or OANN.

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany defended the tweet, saying the president was raising some "legitimate" questions. An attorney for Gugino called the president's accusations "dark, dangerous and untrue."

Multiple aides said they have now even opted to turn off notifications for "@realDonaldTrump,” the president's personal Twitter account. "What's the point?” one adviser told ABC News.

Meadows, who was on Capitol Hill Tuesday for meetings, refused to defend or comment on the tweet when asked multiple times by reporters.

However, two other outside advisers to the president instead said it wasn’t the president’s rhetoric that was problematic -- adding that’s in part how he won in 2016 -- but rather they took aim at Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale's running of the campaign, while noting that daily campaign decisions must be run by Kushner first.

Those who represent the president in media have struggled for guidance on messaging directives from the campaign. In the wake of Floyd's death and the growing calls for police reform, some advisers have been pushing the campaign for a defined message on some Democrats pushing a Defund the Police movement, believing it could help the president gain back some lost ground from the past few weeks.

Erin Perrine, a spokesperson for the Trump campaign, told ABC News that the campaign's data "shows that in key states we track, the President is strong against a defined Joe Biden."

In response to a request for comment for this report, White House Deputy Press Secretary Judd Deere said the president has "accomplished more at this point in his first term than any President in history," including in the White House's estimation saving "millions of lives" with the pandemic response and "restor[ing] law and order to our streets."

But a growing chorus of Republican advisers outside and inside the White House also believe Kushner is alienating the president's voter base because he is too moderate a force.

Fox News host Tucker Carlson said last week that "no one has more contempt" for Trump's voters than Kushner, taking him to task over his support of a program to "let more criminals out of prison and back onto the street." Carlson was talking about the First Step Act, a largely bipartisan criminal justice reform bill that sought to reverse some of the excesses of the drug war, mostly by granting relief to longtime convicts with nonviolent drug offenses.

Fox News host Tucker Carlson said last week that "no one has more contempt" for Trump's voters than Kushner, taking him to task over his support of a program to "let more criminals out of prison and back onto the street." Carlson was talking about the First Step Act, a largely bipartisan criminal justice reform bill that sought to reverse some of the excesses of the drug war, mostly by granting relief to longtime convicts with nonviolent drug offenses.

White House sources and outside advisers have echoed that sentiment. One White House source told ABC News Kushner "assumes our base is going to go along with anything we say" and accused him of intentionally driving the president in the wrong direction.

A source close to Kushner pushed back, saying, "This is consistent -- people are constantly trying to cause separation between Jared and the president but they've been unsuccessful because the president knows Jared’s track record of success and his ability to stop bad actors from gaining influence.

“That obviously creates a desire to have him [Kushner] removed but his relationship with the president is as close as it’s ever been," the source said.

Trump also has felt stuck in the White House, and advisers claim he’s antsy to get back on stage and speak to the large crowds who gather for his political rallies.

Trump also has felt stuck in the White House, and advisers claim he’s antsy to get back on stage and speak to the large crowds who gather for his political rallies.

The coronavirus pandemic halted campaign travel for nearly three months, and his campaign was forced to hold events virtually.

Trump is slated to return to the campaign trail next week, and the campaign has already sparked controversy for choosing to host the first rally since the coronavirus pandemic in Tulsa, Oklahoma -- the site of the Tulsa Race Massacre in 1921 -- and on Juneteenth, an annual holiday commemorating the end of slavery.

The president has been tweeting there is a "big demand" for such events. Campaign officials are banking on the massive protests in recent weeks dampening criticism over holding large events in person, according to multiple sources.

Multiple sources in the White House and on the campaign are hopeful giving the president the platform again of massive crowds will provide him with an opportunity to air his grievances and move on, rather than harping on issues that have been unhelpful to his re-election efforts.

The president, who is known to call multiple advisers and friends outside the White House in addition to speaking to White House and campaign aides daily, is also listening to the advice of most everyone who gets in his ear, sources said. But that includes advisers who some aides view as problematic.

Several sources particularly pointed to Jenna Ellis, the president’s campaign legal adviser who's repeatedly sparked controversy over comments she's made on social media, including last month specifically attacking female White House reporters of color on Twitter for asking what she called “stupid questions” at press briefings.

Ellis also mocked Dr. Anthony Fauci, a leading member of the White House coronavirus task force, tweeting that she trusted "the local weather forecast" more than the nation's leading infectious disease expert.

Ellis has been “in [Trump’s] ear a lot lately,” one source said, calling her a “bad influence” who is giving the president poor legal advice.

When reached by ABC News, Ellis declined to comment on what counsel she provides the president beyond saying her conversations with him are privileged.

“Any legal advice that I give [President Trump] or those conversations are legally privileged,” Ellis said.

When asked whether she consults with the White House counsel’s office on legal matters, Ellis refused to say.

“Legally he is the client so is the holder of the privilege, not me,” she said.

One top adviser told ABC News the president seeking advice through various channels is a good thing.

"He's not yelling, he's not hanging up, there have been long talks with him which means he is processing everything," the adviser said.


Trump’s approval rating drops to 39 percent in Gallup poll
Quote:
A new national poll by Gallup indicates that President Trump’s approval rating has slid amid unrest the past couple weeks in cities across the nation sparked by the death of George Floyd in police custody.

The president’s approval rating – which stood at 49 percent a month ago in Gallup polling – dropped to 39 percent in their latest survey, which was released on Wednesday. Trump’s disapproval in the new poll stood at 57 percent, up 11 percentage points from early May.

The president’s approval rating dipped below 40 percent in Gallup polling for the first time since early October.

Trump’s approval rating on how he’s handling the economy also dipped below 50 percent in Gallup polling for the first time since November 2017. It currently stands at 47-51 percent approval/disapproval, down from 58-41 percent in February.

The Gallup survey was conducted May 28-June 4, entirely before Friday’s stunning unemployment report, which indicated 2.5 million jobs were created last month and that the nation’s jobless level had dropped. The numbers were boosted by many states reopening their economies last month.

A Real Clear Politics average of the latest national ratings for the president put Trump at 42.2 percent approval and 54.9 percent disapproval. The approval rating is a much-watched indicator of a president’s popularity, strength and clout – especially when an incumbent president is running for reelection.

The Gallup survey was conducted May 28-June 4, entirely before Friday’s stunning unemployment report, which indicated 2.5 million jobs were created last month and that the nation’s jobless level had dropped. The numbers were boosted by many states reopening their economies last month.

A Real Clear Politics average of the latest national ratings for the president put Trump at 42.2 percent approval and 54.9 percent disapproval. The approval rating is a much-watched indicator of a president’s popularity, strength and clout – especially when an incumbent president is running for reelection.


Trump campaign demands CNN apologize for poll that shows Biden leading
Quote:
President Donald Trump's campaign is demanding CNN retract and apologize for a recent poll that showed him well behind presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

he demand, coming in the form of a cease and desist letter to CNN President Jeff Zucker that contained numerous incorrect and misleading claims, was immediately rejected by the network.
"We stand by our poll," said Matt Dornic, a CNN spokesman.

The CNN poll conducted by SSRS and released on Monday shows Trump trailing the former vice president by 14 points, 55%-41%, among registered voters. It also finds the President's approval rating at 38% -- his worst mark since January 2019, and roughly on par with approval ratings for one-term Presidents Jimmy Carter and George H.W. Bush at this point in their reelection years -- and his disapproval rating at 57%.

In the letter to Zucker, the Trump campaign argued that the CNN poll is "designed to mislead American voters through a biased questionnaire and skewed sampling."

"It's a stunt and a phony poll to cause voter suppression, stifle momentum and enthusiasm for the President, and present a false view generally of the actual support across America for the President," read the letter, signed by the Trump
campaign's senior legal adviser Jenna Ellis and chief operating officer Michael Glassner.

The campaign formally requested that CNN retract the poll and publish a "full, fair, and conspicuous retraction, apology, and clarification to correct its misleading conclusions."

David Vigilante, CNN's executive vice president and general counsel, told the campaign that its "allegations and demands are rejected in their entirety."

"To my knowledge, this is the first time in its 40-year history that CNN had been threatened with legal action because an American politician or campaign did not like CNN's polling results," Vigilante wrote in his response. "To the extent we have received legal threats from political leaders in the past, they have typically come from countries like Venezuela or other regimes where there is little or no respect for a free and independent media."

After CNN released the poll earlier this week, Trump tweeted that he had hired Republican pollster McLaughlin & Associates to "analyze" the survey and others "which I felt were FAKE based on the incredible enthusiasm we are receiving." McLaughlin ranks as one of the least accurate pollsters in the industry, as measured by FiveThirtyEight.
But several other polls released over the past few weeks -- including polls by ABC News/Washington Post, Monmouth University, NPR/PBS Newshour/Marist College, NBC News/Wall Street Journal, Quinnipiac University and Fox News -- also show Biden well ahead of Trump. These polls, averaged with the CNN poll, find Biden up by double digits, a result well outside any margin of error.

Misleading claims
The campaign's letter, which heavily cites findings by McLaughlin, makes several incorrect and misleading claims.
"It's a poll of 1,259 adults -- not even registered voters, let alone likely voters," the letter says, citing a McLaughlin memo from earlier this week.
While it's accurate that 1,259 adults were reached on landlines or cell phones by a live interviewer for the survey, the 14-point margin by which Trump is trailing Biden came from a question posed only to 1,125 registered voters. It's typical for polling to sample registered voters rather than likely ones at this stage of the race, as it's difficult to project whether voters will participate in an election that is five months away. CNN, as do most public pollsters, typically reports results from likely voters around Labor Day.
It should be noted that in CNN's poll, Biden expands his lead among those who are most (i.e. extremely) enthusiastic to vote.

McLaughlin says CNN's survey is a "skewed anti-Trump poll of only 25% Republican." That percentage of respondents, however, is consistent with several other major polls that use live telephone interviews, which provide the most reliable snapshot of the race. McLaughlin this week argued that pollsters should include a third of Republicans in surveys to reflect the 33% that they represented in the 2016 vote, but exit polls nearly always have higher shares of partisans and lower shares of independents than pre-election phone polls.

Among the entire sample, 32% identified themselves in CNN's poll as Democrats, 25% identified themselves as Republicans, and 44% described themselves as independents or belonging to another party. Results for the full sample have a margin of sampling error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points. It is 3.6 points among registered voters.

The letter to Zucker also includes McLaughlin's criticism that the poll, conducted between June 2 and 5, was taken "before the great economic news," an improvement in the jobless rate that was released on Friday, even though the poll was still being conducted throughout that day.

And the survey comes amid an especially turbulent time in Trump's presidency, including the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, outrage and concern over race relations in the wake of George Floyd's killing at the hands of police officers, and the US officially entering a recession.

McLaughlin has also argued that the poll unfairly includes "questions on issues including race relations, not job creation, which could have biased the poll further," though CNN's survey does ask registered voters who would better handle the economy (Trump leads 51% to Biden's 46%) and was conducted at the height of the Floyd protests.

Trump has regularly chafed at polls that do not reflect favorably on him while promoting ones that do. Last month, Trump bashed Fox News, a network he often touts and gives interviews to, for a telephone-conducted poll that showed him behind Biden by 8 points, and instead pointed to a CNN poll released earlier in the month where he was leading Biden in battleground states. That CNN poll, however, showed Biden had a 5-point lead over Trump among registered voters nationwide.

"Why doesn't @FoxNews put up the CNBC POLL or the (believe it or not!) @CNN Poll? Hope Roger A is looking down and watching what has happened to this once beautiful creation!" Trump tweeted at the time, referring to the late Fox News founder Roger Ailes.

Trump has also credited CNN's polling when it has suited him, as he did in December 2015 when he thanked several on-air reporters for their "very professional reporting of the new CNN Poll" that showed him ahead in the Iowa caucuses.


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10 Jun 2020, 8:26 pm

Everything about the man still says "narcissist" to me.

His fall from grace is going to be everybody else's fault, and it could get quite dangerous.



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10 Jun 2020, 9:19 pm

Trump started as the likely most disliked president EVER
https://www.cheatsheet.com/culture/the- ... ents.html/

Add ..
Slow / dismissive response to Coronavirus
40+ million unemployed/ underemployed/ temporarily unemployed
Pandemic
Bailout (Stimulus) for mostly rich people (business owners)
STILL 1000 Americans die everyday from COVID19
Riots & Looting

It's amazing it's still close.


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11 Jun 2020, 4:06 am

Sooner that orange cretin is gone, the better.


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11 Jun 2020, 5:10 am

So then... You get Biden. Biden restores the US to pre-Trumo grace, everyone is happy. Until they realize, America in its pre-Trump grace was not that graceful, but the reason they elected a buffoon rather than picking Hillary-status-quo-Clinton.
Chances are after Biden, there will be another "Trump", but capable this time.


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11 Jun 2020, 5:30 am

I wouldn't be surprised if he loses the next election,
But, hey,
Everyone was convinced Hillary was going to win, last time. :wink:


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11 Jun 2020, 5:31 am

Kraichgauer wrote:
Sooner that orange cretin is gone, the better.

Tell us what you *really* think. :mrgreen:


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11 Jun 2020, 5:54 am

Pepe wrote:
Kraichgauer wrote:
Sooner that orange cretin is gone, the better.

Tell us what you *really* think. :mrgreen:


I'm too shy. :mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:


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11 Jun 2020, 6:33 am

shlaifu wrote:
So then... You get Biden. Biden restores the US to pre-Trumo grace, everyone is happy. Until they realize, America in its pre-Trump grace was not that graceful, but the reason they elected a buffoon rather than picking Hillary-status-quo-Clinton.
Chances are after Biden, there will be another "Trump", but capable this time.


That next Trump will be the biblical anti-Christ.



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11 Jun 2020, 6:35 am

Kraichgauer wrote:
Sooner that orange cretin is gone, the better.

"The Marmalade Mound"



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11 Jun 2020, 6:39 am

Redd_Kross wrote:
Everything about the man still says "narcissist" to me.

His fall from grace is going to be everybody else's fault, and it could get quite dangerous.


Just finished a book called, "Don't You Know Who I Am?" by Dr. Ramini Dervasula
It was the best read EVER!! ! I had to buy the hard-back because it was new but it was worth every penny. Most books of this type only define the problem but this one goes a few extra hundred miles about narcissism. Impressive!! The author talks about a New World Order too and what we can do about it.



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11 Jun 2020, 8:28 am

RightGalaxy wrote:
Kraichgauer wrote:
Sooner that orange cretin is gone, the better.
"The Marmalade Mound"
What do you have against marmalade?

:wink:

Seriously, though ... I see Trump's pandering to the Religious Right as a final futile gesture toward attracting a constituency that has already been brainwashed into the habit of believing everything any authority figure tells them.

"... and the Trump created the world in seven days..."

"We believe!"

"... and the Trump saw that it was good.  The best.  No one else could have done it better..."

"We believe!"


:roll:


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11 Jun 2020, 10:12 am



Parallels of Religion
And Politics Are Part and
Parcel of Politics and Religion;
Where is the Difference, Per example:

(Just Last Sunday from Regularly
Scheduled Catholic Mass Readings
on June 7th; but provided here in
(KJV) for Fair And Balanced Reporting)

John 3:16-18 King James Version (KJV)

16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him
should not perish, but have everlasting life.

17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him
might be saved.

18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already,
because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

It's Amazing to me that some Folks can't 'See' the 'Gaslit Trump'
Nature of these 3 Authored Verses; But With the 'Trump Meme',
We Have A Clear And Present Modern Example; for Everyone to Potentially 'See'.

It moves from 16: 'Trump' Saying There's No Way but me;

to 17: i am Not Going to Condemn Anyone; Yet, i am the only one who can fix the Problems (Save You);

to 18: i am Not going to Condemn Anyone; but If You Don't Believe in my Name 'Trump' You Are Already Condemned.

It's Obvious that folks very similar to 'Trump'; the Metaphor of a Person without Much Human Empathy and 'Stuff'
Related to Lack of Breathing Love; Wrote much of the 'Old Testament' in terms of 'Ghost Authors'.

It's also Obvious that some of 'Those Folks' wrote Parts of the 'New Testament' too.

But That's What You Get, When 'Both Republicans and Democrats' Write A Book;
Or Pass a Law; Or Even Breathe; Lists go on: Some folks Dance; Some Folks Do not; Some Folks
Have Tons of Empathy and Love; And Others are Pretty much Just in 'the Show' for 'Golden Robes,
Fancy 'Taller Towers', and the 'Mighty Hand of Little Man Disease' as that applies to all 'Humans Empty Inside'.

It's Probably Not enough for 'Trump' to 'Shoot Someone on Fifth Avenue' for Him to Fall Completely Down.

It will Probably take something Like someone else Murdering someone on the Street Gasping for Breath;
Asking for their Mother to Save them; While they are Being 'Crucified' Like that.

i am Glad to See 'Jesus' is finally Real.

i don't think he was planning the Sacrifice;
but in the REAL WORLD; THAT'S HOW IT WORKS.

It was nice of the 'Thief on The Cross Beside Jesus'
to come back And Save 'the World' like this from 'Trump'.
Not Really Nice; But i Believe (actually see) the World is finally waking up to 'the Lion of Love' A Bit, more.

When Nascar Rids all Races from Confederate Flags; That Is A Final Signal That 'Trump' Has Lost 'the Race'.

Seriously; that's aN Only 'Poll Position' i need to see; to see More Clearly Who is coming Next on November 3rd;
And After that too;

THere is another 'Race' Coming.

It's Also Worth Noting That New
Testaments, Prophecies; And Self-Fulfilling
Ones Flow Like TiME A River Never Ending Ocean WHole ALWaYS Water Same Art...

It goes on and on and on.... Waves Rage in Storms... Calm Oceans in Refrain...
Spin and Torsion.. not much different than Quantum Mechanics Theories that
Suggest New UniVerses are born out of BLacK Holes; Not From Gravitational
Attraction; but Repulsion.

Dark Comes From
Light; So Who Is 'A Savior',
'Trump Or Jesus'; THere is no REAL difference in existence now.

i realize That's Kinda Deep; but my Role Model is THE WHoLE Ocean.

Trust me or not; if one ever comes to understand (See) 'this Parable';
One Will Rest in Peace oF A Loving Breath For (ALL); Meh...
i just report on what i 'see'...
oF DArK LiGHT ReaLiTY.

It's Like 'That Old Lady'
Who threw A
'Heart of the
Ocean' Into
the 'Sea'
Long after 'the
Titanic' Already Sunk
And 'Her Loved one' too...

'SHe' STiLL BREaTHES NoW...

In A Story of Life That's ReaL NoW.


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11 Jun 2020, 12:24 pm

Fnord wrote:
RightGalaxy wrote:
Kraichgauer wrote:
Sooner that orange cretin is gone, the better.
"The Marmalade Mound"
What do you have against marmalade?

:wink:

Seriously, though ... I see Trump's pandering to the Religious Right as a final futile gesture toward attracting a constituency that has already been brainwashed into the habit of believing everything any authority figure tells them.

"... and the Trump created the world in seven days..."

"We believe!"

"... and the Trump saw that it was good.  The best.  No one else could have done it better..."

"We believe!"


:roll:


That’s what I hate most about Trump. I hate Pence more because of this.

I’m a Lutheran myself, and those people already see me as an apostate. The last thing I want is the Evangelical-Catholic-Mormon version of Sharia law.


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Kraichgauer
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11 Jun 2020, 3:43 pm

Tim_Tex wrote:
Fnord wrote:
RightGalaxy wrote:
Kraichgauer wrote:
Sooner that orange cretin is gone, the better.
"The Marmalade Mound"
What do you have against marmalade?

:wink:

Seriously, though ... I see Trump's pandering to the Religious Right as a final futile gesture toward attracting a constituency that has already been brainwashed into the habit of believing everything any authority figure tells them.

"... and the Trump created the world in seven days..."

"We believe!"

"... and the Trump saw that it was good.  The best.  No one else could have done it better..."

"We believe!"


:roll:


That’s what I hate most about Trump. I hate Pence more because of this.

I’m a Lutheran myself, and those people already see me as an apostate. The last thing I want is the Evangelical-Catholic-Mormon version of Sharia law.


As a Lutheran myself, I fully understand that concern.


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15 Jun 2020, 2:59 pm

Trump Aides Know His Polls Are Terrible—And Tell Him Otherwise

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This past week, Donald Trump’s campaign did what one senior aide on the president’s 2020 team described to The Daily Beast as the “dumbest thing I’ve read in a long time.”

In a cease-and-desist letter dated June 9, 2020, the president’s re-election staff demanded that CNN retract and apologize for a recently released poll that had presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden leading Trump by 14 points. The letter, which the cable news network immediately laughed off, heavily cited the work of Trump pollster John McLaughlin, whose company alleged that CNN had somehow engaged in a “defamatory” act of “misinformation” and deliberately “skewed” data in an attempt to depress the president’s supporters.

The legal threat quickly became a punchline in political media and even in some sectors of Trump’s own political operation

In one respect, it was just the latest effort by the president’s aides to attempt to satisfy the boss’ appetite for retribution. But it also revealed an element of the Trump political operation that has increasingly demanded time, money, and attention—mainly, the task of convincing Trump that the electoral landscape and polling deficits he faces aren’t as dire as he’s been hearing.

“This helps keep the president from flying into a rage as much as he otherwise would,” said a White House official who’s been in the room for these types of sessions.

On June 4, for instance, the president convened multiple meetings at the White House with top officials in his administration and from his campaign, including his son-in-law and White House aide Jared Kushner and campaign manager Brad Parscale, to have a series of discussions about strategy and communications. According to a person familiar with one of those gatherings, Trump sounded impressed that the support among his conservative base had remained solid in the presented data given recent media coverage and the maelstrom of crises he’d been facing.

At one point, members of the president’s team began briefing him on the campaign’s own private polling, much of which did not look favorable. They sought to reassure the president by telling him that their numbers showed a large “enthusiasm gap” between Trump and Biden voters, and that much of the public polling wasn’t to be trusted, according to two sources familiar with the meeting. In particular, they argued that public polls skew in favor of the Democratic Party at this time because polling firms were polling registered voters and not “likely voters.”

In the characterization of one source close to the president, a chunk of the re-election team focuses on proving to the president that his “dumpster-fire numbers” aren’t as bad as they seem, or reinforcing Trump’s conviction that pollsters get it wrong “all the time.”

But not everyone on Team Trump is buying the spin. In fact, efforts to pacify the president about the polls and his campaign’s position ahead of November have been undercut from within, with several key advisers making personal entreaties to Trump in the past few weeks to try to convince him that he should not brush off the numbers, even unpleasant ones that comes from news organizations such as CNN.

“I have told the president that the numbers are real and that I believe he can and will win, but that right now it looks bad,” said a Republican who recently spoke to Trump. “He said, ‘Come on, don’t you know that’s all fake?’ But in a lot of these internal numbers [that I’ve seen], we’re way down right now.”

“Something needs to change,” the Trump ally added.

This person wasn’t the only one sounding the alarm over the past month. Two other sources who’ve spoken to the president lately—one of whom is a senior administration official—said that when the topic of polls came up they advised Trump that the surveys on swing states and key demographics seemed bleak. Both said they were concerned the president wasn’t taking them as seriously as they had wished.

Outside the campaign, a belief has grown that the Pollyannaish advisers surrounding the president—and who are feeding him news that won’t puncture his feel-good bubble—are doing a disservice to both their clients and their professions.

“There are a few pollsters who are bought and paid for, and they will tell you [the client] what you want to hear,” Frank Luntz, a famed-GOP pollster and Trump-skeptical conservative, said, without naming names. “There are pollsters [for whom] if the check is big enough, the lie will be big enough.”

“I don’t envy those who have to tell Donald Trump what he doesn’t want to hear,” Luntz continued. “I’ve met him several times, I’ve met Biden several times. I would rather present bad [polling] information to Biden than Donald Trump. Presenting bad information or tough information to Joe Biden, you’ll break his heart, if you present tough information to Donald Trump, he breaks your arm.”

But some Trump confidants are more willing to take the chance of harm than others. Late last month, David Bossie and Corey Lewandowski, two prominent informal advisers to the president, visited the White House to warn Trump that his electoral prospects were deteriorating in certain states crucial to securing a second term in office. Lewandowski, who also serves as a senior adviser to Trump 2020, has often second-guessed official campaign strategy, while whispering in the president’s ear that his current aides are failing him.

The Trump campaign counters that the surveys that have shown him trailing Biden do not account for the economic turn around that they believe is taking place, which the president and his allies have dubbed the “Great American Comeback.”

The campaign has also argued that their own secret polls give Trump the edge over a “defined” Joe Biden—a descriptor that is both unscientific and a concession that the campaign has so far failed to effectively define its opponent with just a few months left before election night.

When The Daily Beast reached out for comment on this story on Friday, the Trump campaign’s communications director Tim Murtaugh wrote back: “2016 proved that public polling is routinely wrong about President Trump, otherwise Hillary Clinton would be in the Oval Office right now. Our internal data consistently shows the President running strongly against a defined Joe Biden in all the states we track. And we know the President’s supporters are more enthusiastic than Biden’s. Trump supporters would run through a brick wall to vote for the President. Nobody is running through a brick wall for Joe Biden.”

But Trump’s approval rating on his handling of the coronavirus fallout has itself dipped dramatically in recent weeks. And there is no evidence that the pandemic is truly fading. And on top of that, Republican senators facing competitive reelection fights this year have been far less sanguine in their rhetoric on the economic fallout, suggesting they’ve opted for empathy rather than triumphalism. It’s not an enviable position, Luntz concedes. But it’s not yet fatal either.

“It’s not doomsday. We are too early in the election process. We never anticipated we would be where we are [today, even] two days ago,” Luntz stressed, citing the economic implosion, the coronavirus pandemic that has a U.S. death toll upwards of 100,000, and the mass protests following the police killing of George Floyd. “The changes in racial awareness and opinion is the story of a generation and we got all three of them happening at the same time. Nobody knows what’s going to happen in November. Nobody knows what’s going to happen next Friday. Everybody would be wise to just keep quiet.”


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Professionally Identified and joined WP August 26, 2013
DSM 5: Autism Spectrum Disorder, DSM IV: Aspergers Moderate Severity

My autism is not a superpower. It also isn’t some kind of god-forsaken, endless fountain of suffering inflicted on my family. It’s just part of who I am as a person. - Sara Luterman