According to a person who was in the room, Trump told donors at a recent private event that though “a lot of people think it’ll be easy to beat [in 2020],” the “truth is, it might not be so easy.” The president, according to the source, said that “you can have someone who loves Trump, but many people love free stuff, too.” He added that if candidates tell Americans, especially young voters—that they’re going to cancel their debt, “that’s a tough one” to run against.

“I have discussed the popularity of the democratic socialists’ message, i.e. Sanders and [Elizabeth] Warren, with President Trump on more than one occasion and in person,” said Eric Bolling, a BlazeTV host and friend of the Trump family. “Specifically the idea of excusing debt and giving away, [as Trump says], ‘free stuff’ becoming more and more popular among younger voters.”

Bolling said Trump had made these comments to him as recently as mid-2019. “I feel it was more an observation than a re-election concern [of the president’s],” he recalled. “I feel the discussion was more of a tamping-down of expectations than any serious concern about winning re-election in 2020. It’s politics. Just look to Joe Biden who recently suggested Iowa isn’t a must-win state.”