I’ll take this much advice, please.
UPDATE: The Trump campaign is apparently considering asking New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie to become Trump’s new “debate whisperer.” From CNN:
Such a move — should it happen — would reflect an understanding by Trump and his campaign leadership that the first debate went poorly. That sentiment was expressed to CNN by multiple sources close to Trump, even as the campaign urged surrogates Wednesday to argue publicly that Trump performed well Monday night.
Leading up to that debate, Trump’s prep sessions included a relatively large group of people, according to a source familiar with the sessions. Campaign chairman Steve Bannon was technically in charge, but in practice, Trump led them, according to sources.
Although Trump pushed Clinton hard on trade in the first 20 minutes of their debut debate, she took control after that, landing clean shots at Trump over his refusal to release his tax returns and his treatment of women — highlighting a former Miss Universe whom Trump had publicly cajoled to lose weight.
Trump was so awful on Monday that there’s really not much his campaign can do that would be strategically worse than how they prepared for the first debate. Still…asking Christie to be in charge here is sort of like hiring an electrician to fix your toilet.
As you may have heard, there was a Presidential debate this week. Democrat Hillary Clinton thoroughly trounced Donald Trump on Monday at Hofstra University in New York in a performance that was so lopsided Trump was trying to drum up a “broken microphone” conspiracy theory on Tuesday morning.
Trump is notoriously difficult to manage as a candidate and is prone to taking his own advice over the suggestions of…well, of anyone else, really. As The Daily Caller wrote in August, echoing a theme we have seen repeatedly this cycle:
Sources who were or are currently close to the Trump campaign tell The Daily Caller that Trump operates essentially free from advice, bringing into question how much — if any — influence these advisors have…
…In March, when asked who he talks to for foreign policy advice Trump replied, “I’m speaking with myself, number one, because I have a very good brain and I’ve said a lot of things.”
Trump’s general aversion to taking advice is not new information, of course, but it may really be starting to cost him politically. As Chris Cillizza writes for “The Fix”:
I’ve spent the past 20 months or so covering the presidential campaign of Donald Trump. By now, I thought I had heard it all — from his penchant for insults and bullying to his decidedly unorthodox campaign style. I didn’t know it was possible for me to be shocked by anything he said or did in the context of this presidential campaign.
Then I read this paragraph in a terrific New York Times story headlined “New Debate Strategy for Donald Trump: Practice, Practice, Practice“:
The team had primed Mr. Trump to look for roughly a dozen key phrases and expressions Mrs. Clinton uses when she is uncertain or uncomfortable, but he did not seem to pay attention during the practice sessions, one aide said, and failed to home in on her vulnerabilities during the debate. [Pols emphasis]
Now. Go back and read that sentence again. Done? Read it once more. It’s that important.
Donald Trump is one of two people who will be president next January. (Sorry Gary Johnson!) Monday night was, inarguably, the most important day of the general election campaign to date. Every person in politics — and not — had circled the first debate as a major moment in the campaign, Trump’s best chance to fight back against the narrative that he lacks the policy chops and the temperament to be president of the United States. The audience for the debate was expected to be somewhere between 80 and 100 million, the largest for a political event ever. (It wound up achieving that goal.)
All of these things pointed to the absolute necessity for Trump to perform well. And, what happened? His debate prep team couldn’t get him to pay attention. That is, literally, stunning. [Pols emphasis]
The next Presidential debate takes place in St. Louis, Missouri, on Sunday October 9th. While it would seem obvious that Trump needs to do a better job in preparing for his next rhetorical battle with Hillary Clinton, there is little reason to suggest that he will change anything about his debate style between now and next Sunday. This certainly is weird, but then again, nothing about Trump’s Presidential campaign has had much to do with anything that we might consider “normal” in politics.