President Trump faces the prospect of growing dissent within his own party unless he can arrest h…

President TrumpDonald John TrumpDHS expands authority of personnel to collect information on people threatening monuments: report GOP signals Trump’s payroll-tax cut in Republican coronavirus bill for nowTrump threatens to double down on Portland in other major citiesMORE faces the prospect of growing dissent within his own party unless he can arrest his slide in the polls.
Trump has fallen a significant distance behind presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden vows to fight back against foreign interference efforts if electedOn The Money: Congress set for showdown on coronavirus relief legislation | Jobless claims raise stakes in battle over COVID-19 aid | S&P 500 erases 2020 lossesBiden pledges to overturn Trump’s travel ban initially on majority Muslim countries MORE in recent weeks, as the coronavirus has become resurgent. Republicans are eyeing their electoral futures with increasing nervousness.
Republican elected officials are beginning to see this is headed in the wrong direction and the pandemic is not going to go away before Election Day, said Ryan Williams, a GOP strategist and former aide to Sen. Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyOvernight Defense: House approves defense policy bill amendments on Insurrection Act, nuclear testing | Defense spending bill set for House vote next week | Afghan peace elusive after Taliban deal passes key deadlineThis week: Debate over Confederate statues, fifth coronavirus bill heats upJuan Williams: We must not become numb to Trump’s abnormalityMORE (R-Utah).
Trump, Williams added, is in a tremendous hole right now and is running out of time.
Romney has been among the most willing Republicans to criticize Trump. He was the sole GOP senator to vote to convict Trump on one count of impeachment. More recently, he tweeted that the presidents commutation of Roger StoneRoger Jason StoneHow great is the pardon power?The Hill’s 12:30 Report – Presented by Facebook – Supreme Court denies request to expedite Trump’s financial record caseThis week: Debate over Confederate statues, fifth coronavirus bill heats upMOREs sentence was an act of unprecedented, historic corruption.
Most Republicans decline to condemn Trump in anything close to such emphatic terms. But there are some signs that they are willing to put distance between themselves and the president.
A New York Times report over the weekend noted that even Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellGOP signals Trump’s payroll-tax cut in Republican coronavirus bill for nowWhite House, Senate GOP clash over testing fundsSenate confirms Vought to be Trump’s OMB directorMORE (R-Ky.), who has generally been a strong Trump ally, last week broke with Mr. Trump on nearly every major issue related to the virus.
The Times cited McConnells strong support for the nations top infectious diseases expert, Anthony FauciAnthony FauciFauci to throw out first pitch for Washington Nationals home openerThe Hill’s Coronavirus Report: Former HHS Secretary Sebelius gives Trump administration a D in handling pandemic; Oxford, AstraZeneca report positive dual immunity results from early vaccine trial Coronavirus Report: The Hill’s Steve Clemons interviews Kathleen SebeliusMORE; his cautionary note that Americans would be struggling with the coronavirus for some time; and his emphasis on the importance of wearing a mask.
Trump for the first time tweeted a photograph of himself wearing a mask on Monday afternoon. Many people say that it is Patriotic to wear a face mask when you cant socially distance. There is nobody more Patriotic than me, your favorite President! he wrote.
Trump also said on Monday that White House briefings on the pandemic which appeared to have been abandoned would be brought back, starting Tuesday. Their return might be savored by the president, but they could also fray the nerves of his party colleagues, given his propensity to wander off script.
At a briefing in April, Trump suggested to widespread consternation that the ingestion of disinfectant might help treat COVID-19.
Republicans are already nervous enough.
The weekend New York Times report cited remarks apparently made by former GOP Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanRyan warned Trump was losing key voters in Wisconsin, other states: NYTBush, Romney won’t support Trump reelection: NYTTwitter joins Democrats to boost mail-in voting here’s whyMORE (Wis.) at a corporate event. According to a partial transcript of those remarks, Ryan fretted about how heavily Trump was losing suburban voters to Biden and said, if that sticks, he cannot win states like Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania.
Trump trails Biden by almost 9 points in the RealClearPolitics national polling average. Three major recent polls have put him down by double digits, including an ABC News-Washington Post poll over the weekend that showed Trump lagging by 15 points among registered voters and by 10 points among likely voters.
The same poll showed voters having more trust in Biden than Trump to handle the pandemic by a 20-point margin, 54 percent to 34 percent.
There is no real secret as to the various ingredients that have put Trump in his current predicament.
The United States has failed to bend the curve of COVID-19 infections downward, unlike most other developed nations. The economic damage has been severe, robbing Trump of one of the most vital pillars for his reelection campaign. Alongside this, the nation has been roiled by protests over racial injustice and voters have generally disapproved of the presidents response.
The Trump campaign and its allies insist the opinion polls are wrong, alleging that they are not modeling likely turnout correctly and may be under-representing the presidents support.
Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDanielRonna Romney McDanielPriorities USA and other groups drop voting lawsuit against FloridaThe Hill’s Morning Report Presented by Argentum US mask debate intensifiesDemocrats instructing lawmakers, delegates to skip national convention MORE told Fox News on Monday, I have really struggled with a lot of these polls and the metrics behind them. Many of the polls are sampling only registered voters What we are seeing at the RNC is the president doing incredibly well in battleground states.
Trump also fired a warning shot across his critics bows during a contentious interview with Chris WallaceChristopher (Chris) WallaceWhite House, Senate GOP clash over testing fundsOvernight Defense: House approves defense policy bill amendments on Insurrection Act, nuclear testing | Defense spending bill set for House vote next week | Afghan peace elusive after Taliban deal passes key deadlineTrump tweets photo of himself wearing a maskMORE on Fox News Sunday.
Do you know how many times Ive been written off? My whole life, Trump told Wallace, before adding, I wont lose.
The seismic shock Trump delivered by his defeat of Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonBiden swings left while Trump turns rightClintons, Biden to join premiere of MSNBC’s Joy Reid show on MondayThe Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Facebook – Trump, GOP senators at odds over next stimulus billMORE in 2016 makes many political insiders nervous about making predictions this time around even though Clinton never led by as much as Biden does now.
Virtually no one expects Biden to win by anything like the margins the polls are currently predicting. But Republicans nevertheless understand the steepness of the climb Trump faces and the rising gradient for the partys down-ballot candidates.
At some point, there is every expectation that we will see some tightening of the numbers. Once that happens, do we overreact to that as well Hes coming back! Is Biden in trouble? said Doug Heye, a former communications director of the RNC.
But, Heye added in reference to the pandemic and its economic impact, politically, the significant thing is that this election is not going to be about what we thought it was going to be about in January.
For Republican elected officials, there is a serious dilemma. The president is an increasingly heavy millstone when it comes to winning over moderate, suburban voters but he remains very popular with his base. A recent Fox News poll indicated that his performance in office retained the approval of 86 percent of Republican voters.
The president, meanwhile, has always been quick to return fire on any Republican whom he perceives as disloyal.
It is doubly troubling for Republicans, running with a president who is becoming increasingly unpopular but who will also attack them if they try to put any distance between him and themselves, said Williams, the GOP strategist.
Youre damned if you do, damned if you dont.
The Memo is a reported column by Niall Stanage, primarily focused on Donald Trumps presidency.