President Donald J. Trump reportedly had "whiplash" watching his lead diminish on the days following Election Day, Nov. 3.
"He went to bed thinking he won. We all felt good," the Trump adviser, who asked to remain anonymous, told Axios. "That's why we collectively are still confounded. But there's only so much you can do now once a big part of the country has decided to move on."
Young staffers under Trump are searching for new work as the writing on the wall at the White House becomes increasingly evident.
"Senior staff can afford to drag it out, but mid to lower ... need paychecks and don't want to get left behind," the official said, adding that the challenge is sending out resumes when "we are technically supposed to believe we can win."
"Having spoken with many younger West Wing staffers, I can tell you that the team fully supports President Trump and the movement behind him," White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said.
Chris Liddell, Trump's deputy chief of staff for policy coordination, has been working on transition preparations for the past several weeks, but "everything is frozen right now, they’re not doing anything," a source familiar with his work says. A typical process at this point would entail Liddell figuring out what priorities they can push through before Jan. 20 and working with the Justice Department to review security clearances for Biden officials. While the Biden campaign has posted its own transition page, Emily Murphy, administrator of the General Services Administration, has yet to declare when Biden's official transition begins. Neither may happen until the White House gets on board with the outcome.
Top Trump advisers sat the president down at the White House on Saturday and walked him through the "options for success," a campaign official told Axios. The official added that they made clear to Trump the likely outcome of waging these legal battles, but he was firm that he wants to forge ahead anyway. One source who recently spoke to the president told Axios' Jonathan Swan that even Trump has discussed the possibility of not winning. He has accepted that losing may be an outcome but insists on pursuing what he claims is mass fraud.
Several of Trump's close advisers, including social media guru Dan Scavino and personnel director Johnny McEntee, are egging him on, but know that it's time to privately accept the reality that Trump is a one-term president.