February 17, 2019

Making Campaign Lemonade Out of Shutdown Lemons

“President Donald Trump’s insistence on shutting down much of the government inadvertently handed his reelection team the opening issue of the 2020 campaign. It’s one many Trump political advisers would rather avoid.

Some Trump campaign aides worry that his showdown with congressional Democrats is framing his 2020 bid in a dangerously divisive way. But they say they are trying to make the best of it by using the shutdown fight to fire up his core supporters, raise money and collect voter data that will aid his reelection fight.

“We’re making lemonade out of lemons,” said a person familiar with the campaign.

As polling turns increasingly against the president, and White House officials try to find a solution to what some consider a pointless standoff, Trump aides and advisers are worried that the president is doing his 2020 Democratic challengers an early favor.

“This is a really bad spot for him,” said one person familiar with Trump’s campaign, who fretted that Trump is not thinking strategically about how the shutdown might affect his reelection chances. “He may just be fighting because he doesn’t know what the hell else to do.””

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