President Donald Trump is denying reports that he erupted last week at his own campaign manager over numbers that showed he was down in the polls in a head-to-head general election matchup against presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden.
Trump, during a phone conversation with campaign manager Brad Parscale on Friday, reportedly ran the gamut of emotions when confronted with the data, berating and shouting at him during the call.
Sources familiar with what was said described how Trump blamed others for his dwindling numbers. The president also said the numbers didn’t matter, that he’d win the race regardless. He further blasted the data as wrong, and he blamed Parscale specifically for his dismal ratings.
The president even threatened a lawsuit against his campaign manager, according to the sources familiar with the exchange, mentioning income Parscale had earned as a result of Trump becoming president.
Parscale had a tongue-in-cheek response to the president’s harsh words against him. “I love you, too,” the campaign manager said, according to the sources. Later in the day, the two made amends.
In the early hours of Thursday morning, Trump denied the reporting of the incident, which initially came from CNN.
“Just told that Fake News @CNN is falsely reporting that I was recently shouting at my campaign manager over made up nonsense,” Trump tweeted just after midnight. “Actually, he is doing a great job, I never shouted at him (been with me for years, including the 2016 win), & have no intention to do so. Just FAKE NEWS!”
Parscale also denied the report’s authenticity.
“Attn #FakeNews media: @realDonaldTrump didn’t yell at me,” he wrote in a tweet of his own. “There’s absolutely no daylight between us. We have a great relationship that spans almost 10 yrs.”
There’s absolutely no daylight between us. We have a great relationship that spans almost 10 yrs.
Curious how multiple outlets had the same false story from bitter anonymous sources whose clear goal is to hurt POTUS.
— Brad Parscale – Download our Trump 2020 App today! (@parscale) April 30, 2020
Parscale further suggested that media had obtained errant information “from bitter anonymous sources whose clear goal is to hurt POTUS.”
Trump has lashed out at campaign workers in the past, however, including last summer when he unceremoniously fired a pair of campaign pollsters. When internal numbers were leaked demonstrating that he was losing to Biden in states like Michigan and Wisconsin, he fired the pollsters who had conducted the surveys.
It’s likely that the termination was due to the leak and not the numbers, but at least one source said Trump was upset with the pollsters’ job performances.
Whether he got upset with his campaign manager or not last week, the incumbent president has a very narrow path toward reelection at this time. According to the Cook Political Report, states representing a total of 232 Electoral College votes appear to be in Biden’s column at this time, while 220 Electoral College votes look as though they will lean in Trump’s direction (a candidate must receive 270 Electoral College votes to win the election). Five states, totaling 86 Electoral College votes, are toss-ups at this time.
However, those five toss-up states — Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — all appear to be trending toward the Democratic candidate, according to aggregate polling data from Real Clear Politics. All five were won by Trump in 2016.