It has been a tough several days for Donald Trump. According to the WSJ, "Donald Trump is confronting the roughest patch of his presidential campaign, with even some of his strongest supporters urging him to shift gears and focus more on policy than personality." ABC adds that Republican officials are even exploring how to handle a scenario that would be unthinkable in a normal election year: What would happen if the party's presidential nominee dropped out, adding that senior party officials are so frustrated — and confused — by Donald Trump's erratic behavior that they are exploring how to replace him on the ballot if he drops out.
And while the Trump campaign has denied any such speculation, when moments ago Trump advisor Conway said that dropout talk is wishful thinking, according to NBC Republicans close to Donald Trump's orbit are "plotting an intervention with the candidate after a disastrous 48 hours led some influential voices in the party to question whether Trump can stay at the top of the Republican ticket without catastrophic consequences for his campaign and the GOP at large."
Republican National Committee head Reince Priebus, former Republican New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich are among the Trump endorsers hoping to talk the real estate mogul into a dramatic reset of his campaign in the coming days, sources tell NBC News.
The group of GOP heavyweights hopes to enlist the help of Trump's children - who comprise much of his innermost circle of influential advisers - to aid in the attempt to rescue his candidacy. Trump's family is considered to have by far the most influence over the candidate's thinking at what could be a make-or-break moment for his campaign.
Meanwhile, Bloomberg adds that after Trump's refusal to endorse Paul Ryan, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, Reince Priebus is livid. Priebus is debating the best way to demonstrate solidarity with Mr. Ryan, ranging from a formal endorsement to an email publicly stating his support. A public announcement could come as early as Wednesday. More from Bloomberg:
In an interview with The Washington Post on Tuesday, Mr. Trump said he liked Mr. Ryan and was considering endorsing him for re-election, but was not yet ready to support him. “I’m just not quite there yet,” Mr. Trump said. “I’m not quite there yet.”
Mr. Trump’s language was strikingly similar to the language Mr. Ryan used earlier this year when he said he was “not ready” to endorse Mr. Trump for president. Some people close to Mr. Trump fault Mr. Ryan for withholding his endorsement for a few weeks before ultimately backing him.
Despite the alleged rising Republican anger, party officials are hamstrung as there is no mechanism for removing Trump, who would have to step down himself. Nonetheless, party leaders are said to be furious at the controversies involving the Republican nominee. For Preibus, Trump’s comments slighting Ryan were just the latest indignity in a week full of them, Bloomberg writes, which catalyzed the idea for intervention in Trump's campaign.
NBC adds that the idea is in its early stages, and there's no guarantee that Trump's team would entertain a conversation requiring such comprehensive changes for a candidate who has resisted calls to moderate his tone or reel in his most outlandish political positions.
As with the previous report implying Trump is a trigger-happy nuclear bomber, the report comes from unnamed "sources in the candidate's orbit" who tell NBC News Trump is aware of the dissatisfaction within the party. But while some labeled the state of affairs "Crazytown" and "worse than ever," they also described a sense of powerlessness, bemoaning the fact there's "nothing that we can do, that anybody can do right now."
As expected, the reaction from the Trump camp was fast, with campaign manager Manafort quickly refuting any "intervention" chatter. “The campaign is in very good shape,” Donald Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort says on Fox News after reports of infighting and elected Republicans’ frustration with presidential nominee.“We are organized”
“The candidate is in control of his campaign"; ‘‘I’m in control of doing the things that he wants me to do”
On report that Newt Gingrich, Rudy Giuliani, and others are planning an intervention: “This is the first I’m hearing of that” calling such reports “another Clinton narrative” and saying there are “media types who keep saying things that aren’t true.” He concluded by saying Trump will focus on Clinton failures in upcoming speech rather than continuing to criticize fellow Republicans
Trump insisted in a tweet early Wednesday that there is "great unity" in his campaign despite reports of internal campaign strife following an onslaught of negative attention. Ultimately the question will be whether Turmp's supporters can ignore and move on from this latest media scramble, one in which Trump has managed to dominate the news cycle virtually with every single new development.
It is also worth recalling that the story of a Trump "intervention" has surfaced repeatedly over the past year, in fact ever since Trump started leading in the GOP primaries, with the ultimate outcome being one in his favor.
But perhaps the best test if indeed Trump is a secret "Kremlin mole", and if Wikileaks is indeed a Russia-supported operation as the Democrats and the media have alleged, is if unexpectedly Wikileaks were to release another trove of Democratic emails in this troubling time for Trump, shifting the news cycle back into Hillary's camp, if only briefly. Trump could use it.