Trump campaign fires multiple pollsters after unflattering numbers leak

President Donald Trump‘s campaign fired several pollsters after internal polling numbers that showed the President lagging behind Democratic presidential candidates in key states were made public, according to multiple sources.

CNN and other outlets first reported the numbers — which showed Trump trailing Joe Biden in states like Michigan and Wisconsin — weeks ago, but a purge of the polling team was proposed after Trump grew angry about coverage of the numbers in recent days. Campaign officials were frustrated after the detailed numbers of four of the 17 states polled leaked to outlets like ABC last week.

Michael Baselice, the president and CEO of Baselice & Associates Inc., is one of the pollsters the Trump campaign has let go, a Republican familiar with the matter told CNN. Baselice, who is based in Austin, Texas, joined the Trump campaign near the end of the 2016 election cycle and had been close to Trump’s 2020 campaign manager Brad Parscale, the person said. Adam Geller, who was also a pollster for the Trump campaign in 2016, was another who was let go, according to another Republican familiar with the situation.

The campaign also cut ties with Brett Lloyd, president and CEO of The Polling Company, the former firm of White House senior counselor Kellyanne Conway, a source familiar with the matter said.

Baselice and Geller are expected to begin working instead with America First, the pro-Trump super PAC, the source said. Lloyd is not expected to continue working with any Trump-affiliated entities.

A person familiar with the purge said the firings were less about the accuracy of the polling and more about meeting the President’s demands. Another person with knowledge of the discussions refuted this, saying it was about the leaks.

“Leaks from the campaign are unacceptable,” the second person said.

Two officials familiar with the discussions said the top two pollsters, Tony Fabrizio and John McLaughlin, are expected to stay on.

NBC News first reported on the campaign’s decision to oust some pollsters.

The existence of the 17-state survey, which contained bad news for Trump in battleground states, was reported by CNN and others weeks ago, as aides weighed plans for his reelection launch.

A more detailed accounting of the unflattering polls later appeared in The New York Times while the President was heading to Iowa to travel the state on the same day as Biden.

But days before the kickoff date, specific numbers related to head-to-head matchups between Trump and Biden in four states leaked to ABC on Friday, prompting a more forceful response from the campaign. Previously, the campaign had downplayed the leaked aspects of the internal polls, but did not deny the numbers.

Internal polling became a sensitive subject last week after Trump blew up at several campaign officials, telling them the numbers they had were incorrect and not an accurate reflection of how he’s polling throughout the country, one person familiar with his reaction told CNN. He has become fixated on the numbers in recent days, asking for regular updates or newer polls.

“It’s incorrect polling,” Trump told Fox News in an interview Friday. “Yes, it’s incorrect.”

In turn, campaign officials have spent the last several days rebutting the numbers, claiming they were old or incomplete. One person lamented that the campaign has become more focused on containing the leak than the President’s dismal numbers in key battleground states.

The fallout from the numbers comes as Trump is preparing to launch his reelection bid inside a 20,000-person arena in Orlando on Tuesday night, where he will be joined by first lady Melania Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and second lady Karen Pence.

The President has held several rallies already this year throughout the Rust Belt and in Florida, but his campaign is hoping to draw some attention away from the expansive Democratic presidential field by staging a monster-sized rally in a state that will be a must-win.

Those close to the President say Biden has occupied his head space more than any other candidate in the Democratic field, because Trump fears Biden poses a more serious threat to the blue-collar appeal that helped him win the 2016 election. Trump has continued to regularly phone aides and allies in the early morning hours to quiz them about Biden — and ask whether he poses a threat to his staying power in the White House.

While some aides have advised the President to refrain from attacking Biden by name, suggesting he “sit back and enjoy the show,” others say Trump enjoys having a foil, no matter how far away the general election is. He has attacked Biden from the South Lawn of the White House, while standing next to the Japanese Prime Minister during a news conference in Tokyo and often from his favorite platform, Twitter.

[CNN]

Trump Snaps at April Ryan Over Future Meeting With Putin: ‘You People are So Untrusting’

President Donald Trump went off on White House reporter April Ryan on Wednesday as he took questions from journalists in the Oval Office.

As Trump sat beside Polish President Andrzej Duda, he was asked about how Russia has denied a recent statement of his that they are supposedly withdrawing military forces from Venezuela.

“Well, let’s just see who’s right,” Trump said. “You’ll see in the end whose right okay? You just watch it. And we’ll see who’s right. Ultimately, I’m always right.”

After that, Ryan got in a question about who Trump expects to meet with at the upcoming G20 summit. When she tried to follow up by asking if he’ll be flanked by national security officials when he meets Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping, the president responded: “Well it’s probably easier because you people are so untrusting so it’s probably better.”

“Would you like to be in the room? I can imagine you would be,” Trump continued with visible agitation. “I think it’s probably easier if we have people in the room because you people don’t trust anything.”

[Mediaite]

Trump rips MSNBC’s Donny Deutsch, acknowledges attacks are not ‘presidential’


President Trump
 in a series of late night tweets on Saturday ripped MSNBC’s Donny Deutsch while acknowledging that his attacks on media are not “presidential.”

“Little @DonnyDeutsch, whose show, like his previous shoebiz tries, is a disaster, has been saying that I had been a friend of his. This is false,” Trump said.

“He, & separately @ErinBurnett, used to BEG me to be on episodes of the Apprentice (both were bad), but that was it. Hardly knew him, other than to know he was, and is, a total Loser,” he added, referring to the CNN host. “When he makes statements about me, they are made up, he knows nothing!”

[The Hill]

Trump Rips Mueller in Interview From Normandy Cemetery: He ‘Made Such a Fool Out of Himself’

In his latest interview with Fox News, President Donald Trump blasted Robert Mueller by saying the special counsel made a “fool” of himself with his recent press conference.

Trump was late for a D-Day commemorative ceremony on Thursday when his interview with Laura Ingraham apparently ran long, and the first details of their conversation include the president ripping Mueller’s public remarks about his investigative findings.

“Let me tell you, he made such a fool out of himself,” Trump said, “because what people don’t report is the letter he had to do to straighten out his testimony because his testimony was wrong.”

It’s not clear what testimony Trump was talking about, but he seemed to be referring to Mueller’s letter to William Barr, the letter in which Mueller criticized the attorney general for not conveying the full gravity of the special counsel’s conclusions. While Barr has been favorable to Trump by dismissing the idea that the president committed obstruction of justice, Mueller said that Justice Department policies prevented him from charging the president, and, “if we had confidence that the president clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so.”

Trump also used part of the interview to attack House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, which comes after their recent feud where he raised questions about her mental fitness. This time, Trump bashed Pelosi by accusing her of ignoring a Justice Department statement insisting there’s no contradiction between Barr and Mueller.

“Nancy Pelosi, I call her Nervous Nancy, Nancy Pelosi doesn’t talk about it,” said Trump. “Nancy Pelosi is a disaster, ok? She’s a disaster. Let her do what she wants, you know what? I think they’re in big trouble.”

[Mediaite]

Trump Lashes Out at ‘Washed Up Psycho’ Bette Midler for Sharing Fake Quote

President Donald Trump sounded off on Twitter Tuesday, calling Bette Midler a “washed up psycho” and “sick scammer” after she apologized for sharing a fake quote attributed to him online.

“Washed up psycho @BetteMidler was forced to apologize for a statement she attributed to me that turned out to be totally fabricated by her in order to make ‘your great president’ look really bad. She got caught, just like the Fake News Media gets caught. A sick scammer!” he tweeted. Currently on a state visit to the U.K., he sent the tweet at 1:30 a.m. London time.

On Sunday, the actress had shared a fabricated quotation that appeared to be from Trump in a made-up interview with People Magazine in 1998. “If I were to run, I’d run as a Republican. They’re the dumbest group of voters in the country. They love anything on Fox News. I could lie and they’d still eat it up. I bet my numbers would be terrific,” the quote read. She captioned the tweet, “He certainly knew his crowd.”

Midler deleted the post on Monday and apologized, saying “It sounds so much like him that I believed it was true!”

This isn’t the first time Trump has tweeted about Midler. In a tweet from 2012, he said, “While @BetteMidler is an extremely unattractive woman, I refuse to say that because I always insist on being politically correct.” In another tweet from the same year, he claimed to never have liked her persona or singing and hadn’t heard her name in years. He doubled down on that point in 2014, saying she “sucked” during her performance at the Academy Awards.

[Variety]

Trump Lands In U.K. For State Visit, And Insults London’s Mayor

President Trump received a royal salute as he arrived in Britain for a state visit Monday, making his way to Buckingham Palace to greet Queen Elizabeth II and other members of the royal family. Scripted to the minute, the carefully choreographed visit also included a review of an honor guard at the palace.

Standing on Buckingham Palace’s west terrace, Trump and first lady Melania Trump watched as rows of redcoated soldiers arrayed themselves across the palace’s garden. As a military band played the U.S. national anthem, he then walked with Prince Charles down to the lawn to inspect the guard of honor, stopping occasionally to talk with service members.

Accompanying the president was an entourage that included his daughter and adviser Ivanka Trump and her husband, the senior adviser Jared Kushner, along with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, presidential counselor Kellyanne Conway and immigration adviser Stephen Miller.

The Trumps will spend much of the day at Buckingham Palace, eating lunch with the queen and having tea with Prince Charles and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall. A state banquet will follow, around 7:40 p.m. local time.

Much like last summer, Trump’s visit comes as the U.K. struggles to find a way to exit the European Union. And on Tuesday, he will meet with Prime Minister Theresa May, who will leave office this month after failing to reach a deal that was politically palatable in both the U.K. and the EU.

On Wednesday, the Trumps will take part in a D-Day ceremony in Portsmouth, England. From there, they are scheduled to make a stop in Ireland before flying to France for a brief visit with French President Emmanuel Macron.

The goal of the U.K. visit, the White House says, is to “secure a stronger and more prosperous international relationship.” It adds that while in England, Trump plans to discuss a new trade agreement with the U.K. as it negotiates the severing of ties with the European Union.

Another chief topic will be security, from the fight against ISIS to America’s contentious relationship with China and Iran, as well as the situation in North Korea.

The state visit might be more officious and formal than Trump’s tour of the U.K. last summer, but that didn’t stop the president from insulting London Mayor Sadiq Khan on Twitter as he arrived — just as he did last June.

“He is a stone cold loser who should focus on crime in London, not me,” Trump said. The president added that Khan “reminds me very much of our very dumb and incompetent Mayor of NYC, de Blasio, who has also done a terrible job — only half his height.”

The clash started over the weekend, when Khan said the U.K. was being “un-British” in hosting and celebrating Trump. Writing in The Observer newspaper, the mayor cited Trump’s response to a white supremacist rally in Virginia, his immigration policies and other factors.

The U.S. president, Khan said, is part of a global threat that sows dangerous divisiveness and wins power through fear.

As NPR’s Frank Langfitt reports from London, “Khan said Trump’s electoral tactics — along with leaders such as Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán — recall the quote: ‘divisive tropes of the fascists of the 20th century.’ “

After arriving for his multiday state visit, Trump also complained that because Fox News was not available, he had to watch CNN.

The president tweeted:

“Just arrived in the United Kingdom. The only problem is that @CNN is the primary source of news available from the U.S. After watching it for a short while, I turned it off. All negative & so much Fake News, very bad for U.S. Big ratings drop. Why doesn’t owner @ATT do something?”

[NPR]

Trump denies calling Meghan ‘nasty’ despite audio recording

US President Donald Trump has denied calling the Duchess of Sussex, Meghan Markle, “nasty” despite the comments being recorded.

“I never called Meghan Markle ‘nasty’,” he tweeted on Sunday, adding: “Made up by the Fake News Media, and they got caught cold!”

Mr Trump made his remarks about the duchess in a Sun newspaper interviewahead of his state visit to the UK.

The US former actress has been a vocal critic of Mr Trump.

She supported his Democratic challenger, Hillary Clinton, in the 2016 election and has referred to him as “divisive” and a “misogynist”.

Told of her comments during his interview with the Sun, President Trump said it was the first time he had heard them.

“I didn’t know that. What can I say? I didn’t know that she was nasty,” he said.

He went on to say that he was glad she had joined the royal family and he believed she would make a “very good” princess.

“It is nice, and I am sure she will do excellently,” he said.

On Saturday the Sun posted an audio recording of the interview on its website.

Following Mr Trump’s denial on Twitter the day after the interview was published, several commentators pointed out that the remarks were on tape.

The duchess, married to Britain’s Prince Harry, gave birth to the couple’s first child in May. She is on maternity leave and not expected to meet President Trump during his visit from 3 to 5 June.

[BBC]

Trump calls Meghan Markle ‘nasty’ ahead of London visit

President Trump said Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, was “nasty” ahead of his state visit to the United Kingdom.

“I didn’t know that she was nasty,” Trump told The Sun.

The American actress called Trump “misogynistic” and said she would consider remaining in Canada where she was filming if he won the 2016 presidential election. She married Prince Harry in May 2018 and gave birth to their first child earlier this month.

President Trump said Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, was “nasty” ahead of his state visit to the United Kingdom.

“I didn’t know that she was nasty,” Trump told The Sun.

The American actress called Trump “misogynistic” and said she would consider remaining in Canada where she was filming if he won the 2016 presidential election. She married Prince Harry in May 2018 and gave birth to their first child earlier this month.

Meghan, who is still on maternity leave, is not expected to meet with Trump during his visit.

[Washington Examiner]

Navy says it was asked to ‘minimize visibility’ of USS McCain for Trump visit

The Navy has acknowledged receiving a request to “minimize visibility” of the USS John S. McCain during President Trump‘s visit to Japan earlier this week but said the ship remained in its normal configuration.

“A request was made to the U.S. Navy to minimize the visibility of USS John S. McCain, however, all ships remained in their normal configuration during the President’s visit,” Rear Adm. Charlie Brown, chief of Navy information, told CNN in a statement late Friday. “There were also no intentional efforts to explicitly exclude Sailors assigned to USS John S. McCain.”

The spokesman said that the Navy is “fully cooperating with the review of this matter.” Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said earlier this week that he had directed his chief of staff to look into the incident because he never authorized any “action around the movement of activity regarding that ship.”

Shanahan maintained Friday that the U.S. military would not “become politicized” amid questions over a White House order to keep the USS John S. McCain “out of sight” during Trump’s visit to Japan.

The ship is currently under repair, with one Navy official telling CNN that the White House request was impractical.

“Our business is to run military operations and not to become politicized,” Shanahan told reporters during a news conference in Singapore on Friday when asked if he shared Trump’s assessment that whoever gave the order was “well-meaning.”

“I’ll wait until I get a full explanation of the facts before I’ll pass judgment on the situation, but our job is to run the military. And I would not have moved the ship. I would not have given that direction,” he added.

Trump said Thursday that he “didn’t know anything” about the request to hide the guided missile destroyer during his visit to the Yokosuka Naval Base on Memorial Day. However, he went on to chastise the late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) over his vote that helped torpedo GOP efforts to repeal ObamaCare in 2017, saying he “was not a big fan of John McCain.”

“But I would never do a thing like that,” he added. “Now, somebody did it because they thought I didn’t like him. And they were well-meaning, I will say.”

[The Hill]

Trump claims he was ‘sticking up for’ Biden with ‘low IQ’ comment

President Trump on Tuesday offered what appeared to be a tongue-in-cheek defense of his criticism of former Vice President Joe Biden while traveling in Japan, which triggered bipartisan blowback against the president.

“I was actually sticking up for Sleepy Joe Biden while on foreign soil. Kim Jong Un called him a ‘low IQ idiot,’ and many other things, whereas I related the quote of Chairman Kim as a much softer “low IQ individual.’ Who could possibly be upset with that?” the president tweeted. 

Trump appeared to be responding to Biden’s presidential campaign, which earlier Tuesday blasted the president for agreeing with the North Korean leader’s criticism of his potential 2020 White House rival as having a “low IQ.”

Biden campaign official Kate Bedingfield called Trump’s attacks “beneath the dignity of the office” and said “to be on foreign soil, on Memorial Day, and to side repeatedly with a murderous dictator against a fellow American and former vice president speaks for itself.”

Trump has repeatedly hammered Biden as the former vice president has solidified his position at the top of the Democratic presidential primary field. But Trump’s latest comments drew pointed criticism because he made them while overseas, his latest violation of the norm that domestic politics stop at the water’s edge.

“Kim Jong Un made a statement that Joe Biden is a low-IQ individual. He probably is, based on his record. I think I agree with him on that,” Trump said during a press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

Trump first stated his agreement with Kim’s attack on Biden in a Saturday tweet in which he brushed aside North Korea’s short-range missile test that was condemned by the U.S. and its allies.

“North Korea fired off some small weapons, which disturbed some of my people, and others, but not me. I have confidence that Chairman Kim will keep his promise to me, & also smiled when he called Swampman Joe Biden a low IQ individual, & worse. Perhaps that’s sending me a signal?” Trump tweeted.

[The Hill]

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