Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is gathering his top lieutenants, including members of his family, in New York on Monday to discuss a political strategy shift as he looks to move beyond recent missteps.
Trump is facing pressure from within his own inner circle—including from donors—who are growing increasingly frustrated with what they see as a lack of coordination and communication, members of Trump's staff told Bloomberg Politics, at a crucial moment in the presidential race.
There's also a growing impatience among some on Trump's payroll that the candidate has failed to fill key roles within his campaign, including traveling press secretary and communications director, while Democrat Hillary Clinton's synchronized political machine capitalized on a string of negative Trump headlines.
Trump has, however, brought on board Keith Nahigian, a veteran GOP strategist and former campaign manager for Michele Bachmann's 2012 presidential campaign. Nahigian, who couldn't be reached for comment, is currently working on the campaign's surrogate strategy and it's unclear if his role will be expanded in the coming weeks.
The frustration among Trump's allies increased after his speech last week in Manchester, N.H., where he responded to the mass shooting at an Orlando nightclub. Many in Trump's inner circle had predicted that he would get a bump in the polls, as he did following the terror attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, Calif. Instead, he faced a well-orchestrated rapid-response machine from the Clinton campaign and the Democratic Party, which hammered him for days.
Democrats also seized on a mistake in Trump's speech, in which he said that the Queens, New York-born shooter was from Afghanistan. Staffers had accidentally uploaded the wrong version of the speech into the teleprompter, and later posted the correct version on Trump's Facebook page.
A Bloomberg Politics poll released after the shooting showed him trailing Clinton by 12 percentage points.
Internal Divisions Persist
Members of Trump's team also told Bloomberg Politics there still appears to be a schism between campaign chairman Paul Manafort and campaign manager Corey Lewandowski.
The campaign has built two distinct communications operations: one at its New York headquarters, and another in Cleveland for the convention. There have been instances of friction between each team.
During a swing through California last month, for instance, the campaign never publicized Trump's meeting with female executives in the state, or the endorsements from a lengthy list of veterans. At the time Trump was facing questions about his failure to donate to veterans’ groups.
While Manafort's allies blame the lapse on a power struggle, Lewandowski's backers said some veterans didn't want their names on the news release, and that final versions weren't offered until after the news cycle had passed.
Some members of the Trump campaign say that a reshuffling—a merger of the Lewandoski and Manafort teams that reassigns roles—will be coming soon.
Still, one adviser described the campaign as overwhelmed. Another said the campaign has been unable to focus Trump on more specific events, such as visiting shuttered factories or failing schools.
Manafort and Lewandowski have played down their rivalry in discussions with Republican officials—and with their boss. Trump doesn't carry a mobile phone or use e-mail, giving staff in close proximity—most often Lewandowsi—greater influence. “Corey and Paul get along great,” Trump said in a Bloomberg Politics interview earlier this month. “If they’re fighting, I get rid of one or the other or do something.”