Trump campaign officials scramble to salvage re-election plans as pandemic crisis swamps White House: report

According to a report from Politico, officials heading up Donald Trump's re-election campaign are having to make major adjustments to how they will sell the president now that his administration is reeling over their handling of the coronavirus pandemic.

The report states that even the president has set aside wanting to talk his re-elections plans as he tries to get out from under the avalanche of criticism he is receiving as the U.S. is, to all appearances, shutting down to wait out that spread of the deadly virus.

"When Donald Trump’s top campaign advisers met with the president in the White House Wednesday, they came prepared with reams of polling data on his standing with voters eight months out from the election. But Trump was focused on something else: The coronavirus," Politico's Alex Isenstadt and Natasha Korecki wrote. "Before the group could begin their long-planned presentation on the 2020 race, the president launched into a commentary about how travel from Europe was 'a mess' and needed to be shut down. He ordered White House Counsel Pat Cipollone and chief economist Larry Kudlow into the room to talk about ideas for addressing the pandemic. And he sent two other top aides, Jared Kushner and Hope Hicks, outside to draft a to-do list."

The report notes that with all hands dealing with the pandemic response, "crucial" campaign decisions are being put on the backburner which could hurt the president.

"Senior Trump aides have been anxious to start a massive advertising campaign aimed at defining likely Democratic nominee Joe Biden before the general election campaign kicks into high gear — much like the barrage then-President Barack Obama unleashed on Mitt Romney in 2012," the report states. "But with the coronavirus pandemic dominating the news, Republican officials see little point in hitting the airwaves now, saying it will likely have to wait."

Add to that are reports that Trump's MAGA rallies -- a key part of rallying his rabid followers -- are also facing the ax over health concerns about large congregations of people coming together.

"Trump's signature mega-rallies, a source of psychic uplift for the president, are on ice," the report states with the authors adding, "Trump aides are uncertain when his rallies will resume. Speaking to reporters in the Oval Office Thursday, Trump said he hadn't decided whether he would go forward with a March 25 event in Tampa, Florida."

"Some Trump allies, however, are concerned about halting rallies. The president has long used the events as a primary means of reaching supporters, blowing off steam, and setting a narrative. His campaign also uses them to gather data, the report continues with former Trump adviser Michael Caputo, admitting, "Rallies are important to the Trump campaign and I’d worry about losing them because it would tilt a bit to Biden’s advantage.”

The reporting also notes: "Field organizing, which of course can't be done entirely from home, has been made vastly more complicated by the outbreak. The RNC had been planning a 'National Week of Training' next week — a nationwide effort to recruit and activate supporters and test the party’s get-out-the-vote operation. While some of those gatherings were initially to be in person, they are now slated to be held online and over the phone. The committee is also planning an upcoming online training day for volunteers."

You can read more here.