Tuesday, June 09, 2020


Gabriel Sherman reports:
In Donald Trump’s West Wing, being a member of the Trump family has historically been the ultimate job security. But that truism is being stress-tested after a run of polls consistently show Trump losing to Joe Biden at this stage of the race—a CNN poll ... has him down 14 points. According to a source close to the White House, Trump has mulled taking oversight of the campaign away from his son-in-law Jared Kushner. “Trump is malignantly crazy about the bad poll numbers,” a former West Wing official said. “He’s going to broom Kushner and [Brad] Parscale—the numbers are not getting better,” a Republican close to the campaign said.

Long before the reelection campaign went sideways, Trump frequently blew up at Kushner. For instance, former West Wing officials recall how Trump hated when Kushner received too much positive press (In January, Trump was rankled when Kushner’s portrait graced the cover of Time). “Any time Jared is in the papers, Trump complains, ‘We have to get Jared back to New York!’” said a Republican who heard Trump make the comment.
So will Kushner actually be banished? Nahhh.
In the end, the source cautioned that Trump won’t push Kushner out. “This is typical with him and Jared,” the source said.
But he seems to be in Trump's doghouse, so it's unlikely that the president will give the speech on race that CNN told us he was considering -- as I've noted, Trump's efforts to reach out to non-white voters appear to be Kushner's idea.

As Peter Baker and Maggie Haberman report in The New York Times, Trump is sticking with the "law and order" message and rejecting any call for police reform, even though polling continues to tell us that more than two thirds of Americans see the George Floyd killing as part of a larger problem in policing.

Baker and Haberman write:
President Trump on Monday flatly denied that systemic problems existed in American police departments, declaring that as many as 99.9 percent of the nation’s officers are “great, great people” as he rebuffed mass street protests denouncing racist behavior in law enforcement.

Mr. Trump, who has adopted an uncompromising law-and-order posture and scorned demonstrations that have broken out in cities nationwide, surrounded himself with law enforcement officials at the White House and tried to link liberals’ calls to defund the police to his Democratic opponent, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. — even though Mr. Biden came out earlier against defunding the police.

“There won’t be defunding,” Mr. Trump said. “There won’t be dismantling of our police. There’s not going to be any disbanding of our police.” ...

“Our police have been letting us live in peace,” he said, “and we want to make sure we don’t have any bad actors in there and sometimes we’ll see some horrible things like we witnessed recently, but I say 99.9 — let’s go with 99 percent of them — great, great people and they’ve done jobs that are record setting.”
And as for Jared:
In a meeting last week with roughly two dozen White House aides, campaign officials and surrogates, Mr. Trump expressed unhappiness about Mr. Floyd’s killing but immediately said the country needed law and order, according to people who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe his private comments. He said nothing more broadly about police treatment of black people in the United States.

Instead, he meandered as he talked, saying that he had signed legislation overhauling criminal justice in 2018 not because it was an issue that he was passionate about, but because Jared Kushner, his son-in-law and senior adviser, had wanted him to, according to one of the people familiar with what was said.
Trump is planning to resume his MAGA rallies in the next two weeks. He'll soon learn that even briefly conceding the injustice of the Floyd killing -- "horrible things like we witnessed recently" -- will go over poorly with his crowd. If Trump tries to preface remarks supporting the police with an acknowledgment that the killing of Floyd was wrong, there'll be boos. There'll be boos if Trump mentions Floyd by name. And Trump won't do it again, ever. The "law and order" message will go over big. He'll stick with that exclusively. Sorry, Jared.

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