White House Reporter: People Around Trump Are Concerned He’s Talking to an ‘Increasingly Smaller Portion of the Country’

White House Reporter: People Around Trump Are Concerned He’s Talking to an ‘Increasingly Smaller Portion of the Country’


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Janet Ybarra
Former Washington Journalist
Contributor on The Bipartisan Press

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There’s a growing concern among those who work for Donald Trump that his messages are not proving to be successful in bolstering his re-election effort, according to the White House reporter for the Associated Press.

Trump is struggling to catch up with Democrat Joe Biden amid several national emergencies, specifically: the novel coronavirus pandemic and the economic fallout from that pandemic, as well as the ongoing protests across the country for racial justice.

“Yes, so much of the operations of this West Wing from Day One of this administration are just purely reactive to whatever the president is doing. If [Trump] doesn’t attend the meetings where they decide on messaging for the week, he’s certainly read in on them at least, there’s some consultation there. The press secretary all the time talks about her access to the president, that she’s in the room with him when key decisions are made. But yet, so much of what this president does is impulse,” said Jonathan Lemire. “This isn’t three-dimensional or four-dimensional chess, often it’s the president reacting to what he sees on television.

“Yesterday seems to be one of those examples. It’s hard to know precisely, but the president’s tweet about the sports names, Cleveland Indians and the Washington football team, came just a few minutes after a segment ran on Fox Business about that. We know yesterday, Media Matters tracked this, on Fox & Friends, there were as many if not more mentions of statues than there were of the coronavirus. So there’s this sort of echo chamber between what the White House and conservative media, not just Fox, and they sort of feed off of each other,” Lemire added. “But it seems that — and this is the concern that people around the president have had — is that he’s talking to an increasingly smaller portion of the country, a portion of the electorate.

“It is an election year; we have to think of it that way. And as much as he’s doubling and tripling down on these base plays, on racial grievance, distancing himself from the movement that we’ve seen sweep the nation in the last month or so, stoking white resentment, they feel like this is out of step right now, that some of the moves that worked in 2016, this cultural grievance may not be working now,” he said. “The polling on Black Lives Matter, for instance, has shifted so dramatically since 2016, far more of the nation supports that movement and what it’s trying to achieve. That as much as the president is about enthusiasm, it’s about turning out that base this fall, there are many people, a growing concern of those in his inner circle and certainly Republicans up on Capitol Hill that these are providing distractions, they’re not helpful to his message and it’s not going to help his case or other Republicans’ case come November.”

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