Two great articles from The New York Times and Politico this weekend detailed the turmoil inside and surrounding the Trump campaign.
On Saturday, The New York Times published an in-depth account of the futility of reigning in Donald Trump and keeping him on message:
Advisers who once hoped a Pygmalion-like transformation would refashion a crudely effective political showman into a plausible American president now increasingly concede that Mr. Trump may be beyond coaching. He has ignored their pleas and counsel as his poll numbers have dropped, boasting to friends about the size of his crowds and maintaining that he can read surveys better than the professionals.In private, Mr. Trump’s mood is often sullen and erratic, his associates say. He veers from barking at members of his staff to grumbling about how he was better off following his own instincts during the primaries and suggesting he should not have heeded their calls for change.
He broods about his souring relationship with the news media, calling Mr. Manafort several times a day to talk about specific stories.
How pitifully thin-skinned is this candidate that he must call his campaign’s Chair throughout the day to gripe about media criticism? Was he unaware that the process of electing the President is a brutal one from which nobody emerges without scars?
The article continues:
But in interviews with more than 20 Republicans who are close to Mr. Trump or in communication with his campaign, many of whom insisted on anonymity to avoid clashing with him, they described their nominee as exhausted, frustrated and still bewildered by fine points of the political process and why his incendiary approach seems to be sputtering.
He is routinely preoccupied with perceived slights, for example raging to aides after Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, in his re-election announcement, said he would stand up to the next president regardless of party. In a visit to Capitol Hill in early July, Mr. Trump bickered with two Republican senators who had not endorsed him; he needled Representative Peter T. King of New York for having taken donations from him over the years only to criticize him on television now.
Mr. Trump’s advisers believe he is nearly out of time to right his campaign. On Tuesday, hours before his explosive comment about “Second Amendment people” taking action if Mrs. Clinton is elected, his brain trust reassembled again at Trump Tower in a reprise of their stern meeting in June.
They again urged Mr. Trump to adjust his tone and comportment. The top pollster, Tony Fabrizio, gave an unvarnished assessment, warning that Mr. Trump’s numbers would only move in one direction, absent a major change.
Mr. Trump, people briefed on the meeting said, digested the advice and responded receptively.
It was time, he agreed, to get on track.
Then, on Sunday, Politico’s Eli Stokols and Kenneth P. Vogel reported that the RNC is considering cutting off funds to the Trump campaign come October:
“Early voting in Ohio starts in a few weeks, there’s a 45-day window for absentee voters, so mid-September would probably be the latest the RNC could redeploy assets and have any real impact,” said an RNC member privately. “The only thing you could change in mid-October would be to shift some TV ads, maybe try to prop up Senate candidates in tough races like [Rob] Portman, [Marco] Rubio and [Pat] Toomey.”
One high-level Republican strategist added: “The party committee has this same job every cycle, to employ limited resources to maximum effect at the ballot box. … And that means not pouring precious resources into dysfunctional, noncooperative, losing campaigns.”
Spicer, asked Saturday night about the ongoing discussions, told POLITICO that Trump could not be cut off soon because the party needs him to raise more money. “When I’ve gotten these questions, I’ve been correcting the record. There is no talk of shifting resources in mid-August and it’s unlikely that would happen until late September or October.”
It is not “freedom of the press” when newspapers and others are allowed to say and write whatever they want even if it is completely false!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) August 14, 2016
Yeah, that ought to smooth things over…