When Stepien took over as campaign manager in July, aides said, re-election efforts had no budget and were on the verge of failure. Parscale overestimated the $ 200 million campaign in October, forcing it to cut TV advertising. As a result, Trump spent some of the precious last hours of the race organizing fundraising events.
Proponents of Parscale say he was unfairly redeemed. Every spending decision he made, including the Super Bowl ad, had the signature of Trump’s top lieutenants, and sometimes the president himself, they said. Much of Parscale’s early spending was on finding new online donors, its supporters say.
The former campaign manager felt compelled to invest heavily in advertising in May and June as Trump̵
Proponents of Parscale also say the crisis in Trump’s coffers is heightened. While Trump’s political apparatus has $ 180 million less than Biden’s, that’s more than Trump at the same time four years ago and enough for the last stretch. Trump’s idea was to make Biden senile, and the campaign simply followed his lead.
Parscale is not the only one to blame for Trump’s predicament. Some Republicans are also angry with Meadows for how he managed Trump’s hospitalization. The chief of staff cut short White House reports when he told reporters early on that Trump “is not yet on a clear path to full recovery.”
The statement initiated a damaging news cycle, forcing the administration to assure the nation that Trump was in a stable condition.
Officials also accuse Meadows of doing nothing more to curb Trump. Among the complaints: That he should have tried to prevent Trump from giving Bob Woodward virtually unrestricted access as the pandemic intensified, and that he was wrong in encouraging Trump to hold personal rallies. Others wonder why Meadows has so far failed to negotiate a congressional coronavirus relief package in Congress, and worries that failing to get voter scrutiny could hurt the president in the election.
But others say it’s silly to think that Meadows – or anyone else – could have put guardians on Trump.
The campaign’s TV commercials are another source of horror. Earlier this fall, RNC President Rona McDaniel expressed concern to Trump about the lack of television commercials broadcast in her home state of Michigan. Senior Republicans are also concerned that Trump prematurely withdrew ads from Ohio that he believes he will win, even though opinion polls show she remains close.
Even Trump has told his allies that he is not a fan of the content of some of the ads his own campaign has run.
The rift spread in the last days of the race. In theory, the campaign and the RNC should work in tandem. But senior Republicans said campaign coordination with the RNC had broken down after leaving Parscale, with little communication between the two organizations.
Representatives of the campaign insist that things have improved recently and that the breakdown is not the fault of either side. The campaign and RNC staff, along with Kushner, met at Capitol Hill last week to ensure the two groups were in sync. Also present was Katie Walsh Shields, a former RNC chief of staff whom Kushner hired to improve operations. She has been appointed to the commission.
Stepien and McDaniel held a conference call with reporters earlier this week to announce that the two organizations are launching a joint $ 25 million adult television blitz.
Trump’s campaign spokesman Tim Murto said that “the campaign and the RNC are on the same page, focused on the finish line, we have the same goals and we have agreed on the message and strategy.”
RNC spokesman Mike Reed said the two were “fully united in our efforts.”
During a conference call Monday with campaign staff, Trump dismissed bills of division and dissatisfaction with Meadows, saying the chief of staff was “doing an incredible job.”
The reports “said I was not happy with him. And do you know why they said that? Because it creates bad will, it creates chaos, “Trump added.
Still, Trump himself gets the blame from his team.
Some people close to the president say he is partly to blame for the drop in fundraising. The president canceled some events during part of the pandemic and, unlike Biden, refused to hold virtual fundraisers.
Others expressed disappointment with his decision to miss the second debate, which would be an opportunity for him to win from Biden, and with his erratic behavior in the final days of the race. Re-election officials, meanwhile, were surprised when they called on Monday when he delivered a 30-minute tirade in a huge tone against countless targets, including Anthony Fauci.
If Trump falls, people who know the president say don’t expect him to take responsibility.
Michael Cohen, a former Trump fixer who has since broken with the president, said the culture of pointing the finger is filtered by a boss who has never accepted guilt. That, Cohen said, left the lieutenants fighting.
“Trump can never, ever be blamed,” Cohen said. “That’s the rule.”