In late-night phone calls, meetings in the Oval Office, and informal talks with external advisors, Trump, Kushner, and Parscale discussed ways to revise the President’s campaign and show a narrow path to victory this fall. For example, last month, Rove was invited to the White House to join the President, Republican National Committee chairman Ronna Romney McDaniel, and senior Trump campaign officials for a political strategy session to discuss the position of the president in a handful Swing countries discussed at least two hotly contested senate races, according to three people familiar with the conversation.
Rove’s ties to republican megadonors and his reputation as a sly architect of Bush’s reelection campaign made him one of the first calls Parscale made when Trump’s internal polls faltered, according to a second campaign official who added that Rove also had a constructive relationship the president said after betting against him in 2016 and seeing his name landed in a dozen angry Trump tweets.
People familiar with his involvement said Rove asked the Trump campaign to focus on defining the president’s plans for a second term, highlighting his challenger’s political shortcomings, and encouraging the president to write his tweets so to moderate as much as possible. Recently, the president and his campaign have focused on the mission of convincing voters that Joe Biden’s mental health is deteriorating, making him unsuitable for office.
“Karl Rove is a smart guy and he knows that if you watch Trump go out of nowhere with crazy tweets and an arena show, you only kill our Senate people,” said one person at the Trump re-election was involved.
In a statement to POLITICO, Rove said he had no involvement in the Trump campaign, except occasionally speaking to the campaign manager and the president’s son-in-law: “I suspect I’m one of several people that Brad Parscale could occasionally call for responses for a thought or an idea in the campaign. ”
In fact, Kushner and Parscale are in regular contact with a number of tough campaign veterans. They regularly consult former RNC co-chairman Bob Paduchik, who is now a Trump campaign advisor, lobbyist and Western Pennsylvania-born David Urban, former Mitch McConnell advisor Josh Holmes, Scott and Republican Sens. Todd Young from Indiana, David Perdue from Georgia.
Trump himself sometimes speaks on the phone for hours every week with personal friends, conservative media personalities and former employees. He and Vice President Mike Pence have consulted Nick Ayers, a senior advisor to Pence during the 2016 campaign and later his chief of staff, about the 2020 race in recent months, while the President has also held meetings with ex-campaign officials Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie. Last week, the Trump campaign also brought Jason Miller back as a senior advisor, marking the return of another veteran from 2016 who has been in close contact with the President and Kushner for the past three and a half years.
“This campaign is no different from 2016 in that it is still being built from what the President will do,” said a senior White House official. “It was a very candidate-oriented campaign in 2016, and it will be so here, but there are a lot of people who want to be part of the team, and it’s a bigger tent than before.”