Longtime Republican strategist Karl RoveKarl Christian RoveKarl Rove: The days of ‘lock them up and throw away the key’ are long gone. Republican Rep. Steve King defeated the Iowa primaries Five things to see in Tuesday’s primaries MORE acknowledged on Friday that President TrumpDonald John Trump The Trump administration asks the Supreme Court to defeat ObamaCare Trump says there will be ‘retribution’ for those who disfigure the monuments of the White House task force that tracks coronavirus spikes even when Trump says the virus is ‘disappearing’: MORE report He is on his way to the general election, but said he may regain ground before November.
“Let’s be honest: the president is behind today,” Rove said on Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom”, referring to a list of recent polls showing Trump behind his Democratic rival. Joe BidenJoe Biden Fox News Polls: Trump, Biden Neck and Neck in Georgia, North Carolina, Texas A Generation Z alarm clock in the ballot box Verizon says it will pull ads from Facebook, Instagram MORE nationally and in several key states.
“These things happen in campaigns,” said Rove. “The question is not ‘Where are the polls today?’, But ‘What does the president need to do to regain the advantage?'”
Rove, who acknowledged having informally advised Trump’s campaign manager, chimed in amid Republicans’ discussion of campaign messages at a time of several converging crises.
Several Republican lawmakers have expressed concern about the president’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic and the massive protests over systemic racism and police brutality.
“I think right now, obviously, Trump has a problem with the middle of the electorate, with the independents, and it’s the people who are going to decide a national election,” Whip said. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneGOP: Trump Needs New Plan Police Reform in Limbo After Senate Setback Hillicon Valley: Justice Department Announces Substitute Indictment Against Assange From WikiLeaks | Facebook ad boycott gains momentum | FBI Sees Rise in Coronavirus-Related Cyber Threats | Boston city government bans facial recognition technology MORE (RS.D.) said on Wednesday.
“I think you can get them back, but it will probably require not only a message that addresses substance and politics, but I think a message that conveys perhaps a different tone,” he added.
Trump appeared to compound those concerns during a town hall Thursday in which he refused to specify his goals for a second term.
“What do you want to do next? No president is reelected simply by saying, “I’ve done a good job,” Rove said, adding that Trump “needs to get a better answer” when asked what he intends to accomplish.
“You cannot win unless you have a disciplined and focused campaign strategy,” he said. “And these polls suggest that the president and his team need to reexamine what they are doing and come up with a better game plan.”