President Donald Trump’s campaign machine for reelection is setting its sights on a new target, Elizabeth Warren.
The Massachusetts senator is rising in polls and leading with a populist message that threatens to cut into the president’s blue-collar base. The Trump campaign is aiming its firepower on Warren with an eye toward slowing down her momentum.
Trump aides at the Republican National Committee, who initially believed their money and manpower were better focused elsewhere, are now finding opposition research, and attempting to brand Warren as a liberal extremist. This present reassessment of Warren has been confirmed in conversations with more than a half-dozen Trump advisers. It reflects the volatility of the massive Democratic primary and how the reelection campaign is reacting to it.
The Trump team had been focused almost exclusively on Joe Biden, but Warren’s rise now has them thinking she could pose a serious threat in a general election. Warren has a disciplined style, populist-infused speeches, and perceived ability to win over suburban female voters.
Campaign pollster John McLaughlin sounded the alarm internally and stressed that Warren’s attacks on Trump threaten to undercut his support from the working-class voters who propelled him to the presidency.
“Although our own early published polls and internal polls discounted Elizabeth Warren, her recent momentum in May and June in national and early caucus and primary states into a strong second place to a flat Joe Biden is a cause for our campaign’s attention,” McLaughlin wrote.
“Sen. Warren’s attacks on President Trump’s policies need to be rebutted,” McLaughlin added. “We can’t just allow her to continue to attack the President in key states like Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and elsewhere.”
Biden will still receive a significant share of the campaign’s attention. But Trump aides say they’re less certain that he’ll be their eventual opponent.