Campaign Advisers Urge Trump to Adopt ‘Hopeful’ Message After Reviewing ‘Brutal’ Internal Polls: Report


Trump’s top campaign advisers are urging the president to shift the tone of his messaging to “add more hopeful, optimistic and unifying messages to balance his harsh law-and-order rhetoric,” according to a report Sunday evening by Axios.

The report described a meeting of Trump’s campaign team Thursday afternoon that focused on messaging strategy as the president finds himself in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic and the ongoing George Floyd protests, with the November elections looming.

Sources told Axios that Trump has a “woman problem” and that recent internal polls were “brutal” for the president, with his support plummeting with independents.

“The messaging that works for the red-MAGA-hat base doesn’t resonate with independents,” said one.

The solution? Focus on good news, like the recent May jobs report, and promote a theme of the “Great American Comeback,” using terms like “renewing,” “recovering,” “restoring,” and “rebuilding.”

One challenge for the Trump campaign is — besides the fact that the May jobs numbers weren’t quite as rosy as they originally seemed — that a recovery is far from guaranteed, especially with coronavirus cases continuing to steadily rise in several regions, hurricane season beginning  few days ago, and whatever other plagues 2020 decides to bestow upon us.

Trump’s overall disapproval rating ticked down slightly again this week, and his rating specifically regarding his administration’s handling of the protests was lower than his usual rating among his Republican base, as FiveThirtyEight noted:

As for President Trump’s handling of the protests, Americans largely gave him a thumbs down. The CBS News/YouGov poll found that 32 percent approved of Trump’s response while 49 percent disapproved, and Reuters/Ipsos found that 33 percent approved while 56 percent disapproved. Although Trump usually has overwhelming backing from Republicans on most job approval questions, there were some signs that at least a few GOP voters were breaking with him on this issue. The CBS News/YouGov survey found that 65 percent approved of how he’s handling the situation — far lower than the 84 percent who approve of how he’s handling the coronavirus pandemic, for example — while 14 percent disapproved. Similarly, in the Reuters/Ipsos poll, 20 percent disapproved while 67 percent approved.

One key recommendation of Trump’s advisers was for him to “tone down his incendiary rhetoric.”

That discussion reportedly happened at that Thursday meeting.

Since that time, Trump has raged on Twitter at former members of his administration and other Republicans who dare to publicly criticize him, snapped at and shushed a female reporter who dared to ask him a question, lectured New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees for supporting the Black Lives Matter protests (only for NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to knock the wind right out of his sails a few hours later), retweeted a video of two conservative commentators attacking the reputation of George Floyd, gotten in a spitting match with D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser

…and so on, and so on, and so on…

Even Trump’s surprise press conference touting the May jobs numbers was overshadowed by odd comments he made, suggesting that it was a “great day” for George Floyd.

Tone down the incendiary rhetoric? Trump did not seem to get the memo.

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Sarah Rumpf joined Mediaite in 2020 and is a Contributing Editor focusing on politics, law, and the media. A native Floridian, Sarah attended the University of Florida, graduating with a double major in Political Science and German, and earned her Juris Doctor, cum laude, from the UF College of Law. Sarah's writing has been featured at National Review, The Daily Beast, Reason, Law & Crime, Independent Journal Review, Texas Monthly, The Capitolist, Breitbart Texas, Townhall, RedState, The Orlando Sentinel, and the Austin-American Statesman, and her political commentary has led to appearances on the BBC, MSNBC, NewsNation, Fox 35 Orlando, Fox 7 Austin, The Young Turks, The Dean Obeidallah Show, and other television, radio, and podcast programs across the globe.