Updated Apr 30, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Trump lashed out at campaign manager after polls showed him trailing Biden

President Trump meets with industry executives at the White House on April 29. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump erupted on a phone call last week with campaign manager Brad Parscale after being presented with polls that showed former Vice President Joe Biden beating him in several key states, CNN first reported and Axios has confirmed.

Driving the news: Swing-state polls from this week show Biden pulling ahead in Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, indicating that the presumptive Democratic nominee has benefited from remaining out of the public eye.

  • Gallup has found that Trump's approval rating has taken its sharpest dip to date since he took office.
  • And Pew Research reports that about 65% of Americans believe the president was too slow to take major steps to handle the threat of the coronavirus.

The big picture: Trump demanded on the call to know how his campaign, which is sitting on a massive fundraising war chest and sprawling digital operation, is polling behind a candidate that he views as weak.

  • Trump insisted to Parscale that the polling data was wrong and blamed him for the state of the race. According to the New York Times, the president at one point threatened to sue Parscale, though the threat did not appear to be serious.

What he's saying: Trump told Reuters in an interview published later Wednesday he didn't think the election would be a referendum on his leadership during the pandemic, but it would be "a referendum on all the things we’ve done and certainly this will be a part of it, but we’ve done a great job."

"I don’t believe the polls. I believe the people of this country are smart. And I don’t think that they will put a man in who’s incompetent."
— Trump's remarks to Reuters
  • Trump tweeted early Thursday that he thought Parscale was "doing a great job." "I never shouted at him (been with me for years, including the 2016 win), & have no intention to do so,” he added.

The bottom line: Axios' Jonathan Swan reported last week that a number of Trump's most trusted advisers — both inside and outside the White House — have urged him to stop doing marathon televised briefings, believing his ratings have suffered from overexposure.

Go deeper: Trump aides eye benefits of Biden's low profile

Editor's note: This article has been updated with Trump's comments.

Go deeper

Biden formally secures Democratic presidential nomination

Joe Biden speaks at Delaware State University's student cente on June 5. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden became the formal Democratic presidential nominee on Friday evening, per AP.

The big picture: Biden has been the presumptive frontrunner to take on President Trump since Sen. Bernie Sanders suspended his campaign in early April.

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 6,724.516 — Total deaths: 394,018 — Total recoveries — 2,996,832Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 1,894,753 — Total deaths: 109,042 — Total recoveries: 491,706 — Total tested: 19,231,444Map.
  3. Public health: WHCA president says White House violated social-distancing guidelines to make reporters "a prop" — Jailing practices contribute to spread.
  4. Sports: How coronavirus could reshuffle the sports calendar.
  5. Jobs: Better-than-expected jobs report boosts stock market.
  6. Media: The Athletic lays off 8% of staff, implements company-wide pay cut.

Scoop: German foreign minister to travel to Israel with warning on annexation

Heiko Maas. Photo: Michael Kappeler/picture alliance via Getty Images

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas is expected to travel to Israel next week to warn that there will be consequences if Israeli leaders move forward with plans to annex parts of the West Bank, Israeli officials and European diplomats tell me.

Why it matters: Israeli and European officials agree that if Israel goes ahead with unilateral annexation, the EU will respond with sanctions.