Mark a victory for much-maligned anonymous sources.
Over the weekend, the New York Times published a story that portrayed Donald Trump as a beaten man who was prone to doubting his professional inner circle. “Advisers who once hoped a Pygmalion-like transformation would refashion a crudely effective political showman into a plausible American president now increasingly concede that Mr. Trump may be beyond coaching. He has ignored their pleas and counsel as his poll numbers have dropped, boasting to friends about the size of his crowds and maintaining that he can read surveys better than the professionals,” reads the story by Alexander Burns and Maggie Haberman, which relied heavily on unnamed sources spilling details about fractious meetings and the like.
Also, this: “In private, Mr. Trump’s mood is often sullen and erratic, his associates say. He veers from barking at members of his staff to grumbling about how he was better off following his own instincts during the primaries and suggesting he should not have heeded their calls for change.”
Nonsense, all of it, cried Team Trump:
Trump campaign senior communications adviser Jason Miller told CNN’s Brian Stelter, “There was an article on the front page of the New York Times today that had chockful of anonymous blind quotes and sources, talking about meetings that quite frankly never even happened.”
About three days later, the Trump campaign turned around and confirmed the New York Times report. Not in so many words, mind you, but with its actions. It shook up its upper ranks, installing Breitbart News executive Stephen Bannon as the campaign’s chief executive and pollster Kellyanne Conway as campaign manager. In a CNN interview, Conway said, “We’re going to make sure Donald Trump is comfortable about being in his own skin, that he doesn’t lose that authenticity that you simply can’t buy and a pollster can’t give you. Voters know if you’re comfortable in your own skin.” Sound familiar?
To pile on, NBC News is citing a source as saying that Trump himself “has been deeply unhappy for weeks.” Politico reports: “Those who’ve spoken with Trump amid the turmoil say he’s hard to read — a man who is thoughtful and contemplative at one moment, and impatient and angry the next.”
All the more reason never to trust Trump & Co. the next time they try to challenge a tough story. Not that they have any credibility to begin with.