The 2020 presidential sprint enters the final phase with President Trump’s attacks on referees and pundits intensifying.
The Republican camp’s offensive strategy reflects its continuing struggles. Short on cash and trailing in polls, Trump seems to target less important issues and people to keep the electorate’s attention away from critical matters, particularly the pandemic and the economy.
“You always work the referees. That’s politics,” former communications director for Trump’s campaign Bryan Lanza acknowledged. “It also helps that the refs have given the president and his team significant ammunition to question their credibility.”
Trump has always been questioning facts and others’ credibility during his time in the political scene, but with the decisive day looming, he is heavily leaning on frantic attacks.
“I’m not just running against Biden, I’m running against the left-wing media, the big tech giants, and the Washington swamp, and I’ve been running against it from the beginning. And here I am, all by myself,” Trump recently said at a rally.
On Tuesday, the President was angered by anchor Lesley Stahl’s questioning during the televised “60 minutes” interview and cut off the recording. He also described today’s debate moderator Kristin Welker as “extraordinarily unfair.”
“He is trying to weaken confidence in the referees-undermining confidence in the outcome to possibly set up a challenge or justify his loss,” Professor Julian Zelizer said.
“The urgency is greater now that he is having trouble undercutting how people perceive his opponent.”