“Trump’s feeling is, ‘why are we losing everywhere?’"

With the coronavirus death toll surpassing 80,000 and the unemployment rate at Great Depression-era levels, there is a growing consensus among senior Republicans that Donald Trump’s reelection is slipping away. Recent internal polls show Trump trailing Joe Biden in six swing states, a data point that augurs a landslide loss in November. “The swing state polls are horrific,” a prominent Republican briefed on the numbers told me. The White House’s COVID-19 outbreak is only the latest headline that reinforces the narrative that Trump can’t get control of the pandemic. “This is what should worry the campaign: Biden is in his basement and he’s beating Trump,” a former West Wing staffer told me. “If I were Biden, the lesson I would learn is: Shut the fuck up and let Trump go out there and destroy himself.”

Seeking to change the trajectory of the race, Trump is now discussing a shake-up to his campaign leadership, three sources close to the White House told me. Two sources said Trump has told people he wants to install 2016 campaign manager Corey Lewandowski in a senior role. “Trump’s feeling is, ‘why are we losing everywhere?’ The president is sick of it,” another former West Wing official said. According to a source, Lewandowski has told Trump that the RNC doesn’t grasp how dire the polls are. “Corey thinks the GOP isn’t solid on fundamentals. He says the campaign and the party spend time sending out press releases bragging about how well they’re doing,” the former official said. (Tim Murtaugh, communications director for the Trump campaign, said in an email, “literally none of this is true.”)