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Donald Trump is not having a good time right now. His poll numbers continue to tank as the coronavirus pandemic continues to cost the U.S. lives and jobs. And the president’s reportedly taking it out on campaign manager Brad Parscale.
A day after Trump publicly suggested that injecting bleach can cure coronavirus, Trump lost it in a phone call with Parscale, “three people familiar with the matter” told CNN. (The New York Times and Washington Post later confirmed the call.) Trump blamed his campaign manager for his recent dive in the polls and apparently threatened at one point to sue Parscale.
“I love you too,” Parscale responded, people briefed on the call told the New York Times.
The Washington Post later reported that someone “with knowledge of the comments” said Trump was joking, and CNN reported that the two patched things up.
It’s not clear under what legal statute a boss can sue his own employee over bad poll numbers, but it bears repeating that Trump threatens a lot of lawsuits. The Trump campaign notably declined to comment to multiple outlets.
Part of the contention reportedly stemmed from Trump’s apparent insistence that the press briefings are going well. (Parscale, other aides and most people who’ve watched them disagree.) Trump also reportedly suggested that his numbers are falling because he’s not able to travel or do rallies.
“I’ve been at the White House now for many months, and I’d like to get out,” Trump said during a Wednesday event.
"He's p*ssed because he knows he messed up in those briefings," one anonymous Republican told CNN.
While most world leaders and state governors have received a giant bump in public support during the pandemic, Trump has been an anomaly. Poll after poll has shown that a majority of the country doesn’t approve of how he’s handling the crisis.
Even worse news for Trump is that former Vice President Joe Biden’s poll numbers have continued to get better now that he’s president’s presumptive opponent. Biden currently has an average lead of 6 points over Trump in RealClearPolitics’ polling averages, and Trump was reportedly presented last week with internal RNC and Trump campaign polling showing Biden leading the president in key swing states.
Trump apparently does not believe those polls.
“I’m not losing to Joe Biden,” he told Parscale and other advisors, according to what two people familiar with the conversations told the Washington Post.
Cover: President Donald Trump listens during a meeting about the coronavirus response with Gov. Phil Murphy, D-N.J., in the Oval Office of the White House, Thursday, April 30, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)