Trump faces surrogate deficit

Trump faces surrogate deficit
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Donald TrumpDonald TrumpThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - White House, Dems play blame game over evictions The Memo: Left pins hopes on Nina Turner in Ohio after recent defeats Biden administration to keep Trump-era rule of turning away migrants during pandemic MORE appears to be facing a significant surrogate deficit in a general election battle against Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonFive things to watch in two Ohio special election primaries Clintons, Stacey Abrams meeting Texas Democrats Biden says Russia spreading misinformation ahead of 2022 elections MORE

The challenge Trump faces came to the forefront this week as President Obama and Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenAmerica's middle class is getting hooked on government cash — and Democrats aren't done yet California Democrats warn of low turnout in recall election Pelosi disputes Biden's power to forgive student loans MORE (D-Mass.) made headlines with their endorsements of Clinton. 


This summer and into the fall, Clinton promises to send the president, first lady Michelle ObamaMichelle LeVaughn Robinson ObamaSimone Biles takes herself out of fifth Olympic event Michelle Obama to Simone Biles: 'We are proud of you and we are rooting for you' Obama setting up big bash to celebrate his 60th MORE and Warren on the road. All three could be important battleground surrogates for her campaign. 

Former President Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonNew spotlight on secretaries of state as electoral battlegrounds Bipartisan infrastructure win shows Democrats must continue working across the aisle Overnight Health Care: CDC details Massachusetts outbreak that sparked mask update | White House says national vaccine mandate 'not under consideration at this time' MORE will also hit the road for his wife, and Vice President Biden has indicated that he will be on the stump. It's not clear whether Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - White House, Dems play blame game over evictions The Memo: Left pins hopes on Nina Turner in Ohio after recent defeats Five things to watch in two Ohio special election primaries MORE (I-Vt.) will join the onslaught, though Democrats certainly hope he'll be in the fold. 

Trump, in contrast, can promise few notable names. 

Over the last year, the presumptive presidential nominee has feuded with his party's last two standard-bearers, John McCainJohn Sidney McCainMeghan McCain to produce 'Don't Sweat the Small Stuff' Lifetime movie starring Heather Locklear An August ultimatum: No recess until redistricting reform is done Meghan McCain on Pelosi, McCarthy fight: 'I think they're all bad' MORE and Mitt Romney. Neither is expected to campaign for him.

Trump has also feuded with the Bush family and GOP stars Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzUp next in the culture wars: Adding women to the draft Biden's bipartisan deal faces Senate gauntlet 228 Republican lawmakers urge Supreme Court to overrule Roe v. Wade MORE and Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioSenate holds sleepy Saturday session as negotiators finalize infrastructure deal Break glass in case of emergency — but not for climate change Democrats join GOP in pressuring Biden over China, virus origins MORE, both of whom he defeated in the primary. 

Clinton campaign spokesman Jesse Ferguson took to Twitter on Thursday to highlight the expected lack of support for Trump from former Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush.

“Last two Democratic presidents now support [the] Democratic nominee,” Ferguson tweeted. “Last two Republican presidents DON’T support [the] Republican nominee.”

It’s possible Speaker Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanWisconsin GOP quietly prepares Ron Johnson backup plans RealClearPolitics reporter says Freedom Caucus shows how much GOP changed under Trump Juan Williams: Biden's child tax credit is a game-changer MORE (Wis.) and Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - White House, Dems play blame game over evictions GOP skepticism looms over bipartisan spending deal On The Money: Biden, Pelosi struggle with end of eviction ban | Trump attorney says he will fight release of tax returns MORE (Ky.) will help Trump, but both criticized the GOP candidate this week, and each will be focused on keeping a majority in his chamber of Congress.

“It’s a problem. It’s a huge problem,” said Republican strategist and columnist for The Hill John Feehery, who says he will support Trump.  “He’s a nonpolitician and that’s been appealing to many people but there are some basics that every campaign needs to have and one is that you have to drive a message. Without a message, it’s hard to have a surrogate operation.”

Trump's best surrogates could be New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, whose ratings are underwater in his own state, stalwart conservative Sen. Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsWant to evaluate Donald Trump's judgment? Listen to Donald Trump Democrat stalls Biden's border nominee Garland strikes down Trump-era immigration court rule, empowering judges to pause cases MORE (R-Ala.) and Trump family members, such as his daughter Ivanka Trump. 

In an email, Trump campaign spokeswoman Hope Hicks said the billionaire businessman will have a host of campaign surrogates.

“We have many such [surrogates] such as Governor Chris Christie, Senator Jeff Sessions, Former Speaker Newt Gingrich and many more,” she said.

Yet it is hard to see that trio outgunning the Democratic stars that Clinton can send out on her behalf.

Sessions is a conservative favorite who is popular with grassroots Republicans, but whether he can extend Trump's appeal is unclear.

And Gingrich has irked Trump with some of his remarks.

This week, he went off script, calling Trump’s racially charged comments about U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel “inexcusable.”

And in a Facebook Live segment, he said Clinton’s speech on Tuesday night was “spectacular” and “very effective.”

Kevin Madden, a Republican strategist who served as an adviser to Romney during his presidential bid, called Trump’s surrogates “the Trump Green Room brigade.”

He argued too many of Trump’s supporters are relying on the candidate’s Twitter feed to figure out what to say.

“They’re like independent contractors,” said Madden, who is not supporting Trump. “And it’s not a seamless and coordinated response. It’s a mishmash” of comments.