'Exasperated' Trump aides scrambling to repair damage from president's press conferences: report
(AFP / Olivier DOULIERY)

According to a report from Politico, "exasperated" White House allies and aides are trying to reel President Donald Trump back in after his daily press conferences on the COVID-19 health crisis did what appears to be irreparable damage to re-election hopes.

As the report puts it, the president may have over-exposed himself during his combative dealings with the press and turned off some voters they were hoping to keep as the November election looms.

"Donald Trump’s top aides are fiercely debating a question their boss rarely confronted during his decades of jousting with tabloid newspapers, starring on reality TV shows and running a media-soaked presidential campaign: whether there’s such a thing as too much Donald Trump." Politico's Gabby Orr and Nancy Cook wrote. "A series of missteps during Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic is triggering fears among some advisers that the president is damaging his reelection prospects with his communications during the crisis."

Saying White House allies are "exasperated," the report states that people close to the president want him to break the mold and appear somewhere outside of Fox News in hopes of reaching voters who are not part of his rabid base.

"In a matter of weeks, the coronavirus crisis has dashed the hopes of campaign advisers who had hitched Trump’s bid for a second term to a long list of accomplishments. When the strong U.S. economy came to a screeching halt in mid-March, less than two weeks after Gallup recorded Trump’s highest rating yet for his handling of the economy, the president overcompensated by deciding his own celebrity was a superior political weapon anyway," the report states. "Now aides are scrambling to find a new way forward — one that allows Trump to appear in charge of the administration’s Covid-19 containment effort without further jeopardizing his standing with key voters, millions of whom have been reminded of the president’s divisive personality during his lengthy press conferences every night of the week."

Prior to the announcement that the press conferences may be abandoned, the Politico report notes, "Recently, several White House aides began urging the president to make the briefings far shorter and to only approach the podium to deliver announcements or tout victories, while leaving the technical aspects to the numerous health officials who typically join him at the dais. One Trump adviser said the ideal briefing would be 30 minutes long: 10 minutes for Trump, 10 minutes for his health officials and a final 10 minutes for questions."

"Trump has resisted such advice for weeks, viewing the daily briefings as an ideal venue for him to connect with his supporters and perform his favorite tricks," the report continues. "Even after campaign aides briefed him on a series of unsettling polls about his appearances, Trump continued making the case privately that his sky-high television ratings would help him trounce Biden in November, according to two people familiar with the president’s thinking. His logic failed to take into account the reality that not every American who tunes in to the nightly briefings will ultimately vote for Trump in the fall, especially suburban and female voters whom White House advisers have long worried about."

According to a source close to the president, the damage to Trump's re-election prospects may already be done.

“I am worried about overexposure, yes,” the sources told Politico. “Bickering with the media for two hours on live television does nothing to help Americans who are struggling right now and want to know how and when their lives will return to normal.”

You can read more here.