These are not the signs of an incumbent's campaign that is confident of a win in November.
David Bossie and Corey Lewandowski, two key allies and former political advisers to Donald Trump, went to the White House last week to issue him a warning: The president was slipping badly in swing states, and he needed to do something to fix it.
Three days later, the Trump campaign’s political directors in Arizona and Florida — states the president won in 2016 but where surveys show him lagging — were summoned to the White House Roosevelt Room. The officials offered a detailed rundown of his organization in the battlegrounds and tried to reassure the president that he was on firm ground.
After his May 18 meeting with Bossie and Lewandowski, Trump called his top campaign lieutenants to vent his frustration about his political standing.
Bossie and Lewandowski, who served as top aides on Trump’s 2016 effort, complained to the president about his political operation. Trump’s campaign team, in response decided to rush their Arizona and Florida representatives onto airplanes for a Thursday meeting with the president.
Republicans involved with setting up the Thursday meeting with Trump's state directors said they were taken aback by Bossie and Lewandowski’s warning. They felt the need to mollify Trump, who has been kept abreast of his reelection effort but hasn’t always been aware of the granular, on-the-ground details.
The sequence, which was described by four people familiar with what transpired, offered the latest snapshot of Trump’s angst about his battleground state standing. With just five months until the election, the president has been privately expressing concern about his poll numbers and senior Republicans are openly sounding alarms about his swing state prospects.
Neither Bossie nor Lewandowski, who is currently serving as a senior adviser to the reelection campaign, responded to requests for comment. A Trump campaign spokesman declined to comment.
Greg Sargent made it pretty clear last week that Trump doesn't know how to fix this mess, and that we should stop assuming he's invincible.
Whenever President Trump rolls out a new public stunt — from buffoonishly doctoring official charts with his Sharpie to dangerously using troops as campaign props — pundits rush to suggest that this time, Trump’s magical media manipulation powers just might work.
Now that Trump is using the theatrical and institutional powers of the presidency to bulldoze the country into restarting economic activity on his reelection timetable — while creating the illusion that we’re already roaring back to greatness — this is on its way to happening again.
But what if Trump’s grand new strategy is really kind of a joke? What if — having become overwhelmed by monumental public health and economic crises that are far beyond his limited capacities — he doesn’t have any idea what case to make for reelection under such dire and unforeseen circumstances?
Trump has no idea how to get out of this mess or to fix anything.