Trump faces surrogate deficit

Trump faces surrogate deficit
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Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpForget the spin: Five unrefuted Mueller Report revelations Lara Trump: Merkel admitting migrants 'one of the worst things that ever happened to Germany' Financial satisfaction hits record high: survey MORE appears to be facing a significant surrogate deficit in a general election battle against Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonForget the spin: Five unrefuted Mueller Report revelations Former senators launching effort to help Dems win rural votes Biden's announcement was a general election message, says political analyst MORE

The challenge Trump faces came to the forefront this week as President Obama and Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenColbert links large 2020 Dem field to Avengers: 'A group of every available person in the universe' Seven big decisions facing Biden in 2020 primary Sanders dominates, Buttigieg surges in 2020 social media battle 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 ObamaThe Hill's Morning Report — Category 5 Mueller storm to hit today Warren praises Ocasio-Cortez in Time 100 Beyoncé in 'Time 100' profile: Michelle Obama empowers black Americans MORE and Warren on the road. All three could be important battleground surrogates for her campaign. 

Former President Bill ClintonWilliam (Bill) Jefferson ClintonDemocrats are playing voters on their fantasies for impeachment George Conway backs up Clinton on Mueller report: 'If she's with the Constitution, I'm with her' Top Dem: Supreme Court has 'no role' in impeachment 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 SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersElection analyst says Biden could face uphill battle attracting small-dollar donors Gillibrand 'not worried' about being 'discounted' in 2020 race Biden's sloppy launch may cost him 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 McCainBiden's sloppy launch may cost him Cindy McCain weighs in on Biden report: 'No intention' of getting involved in race Why did Mueller allow his investigation to continue for two years? 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 CruzO'Rourke to give commencement address at Texas's oldest black college Cornyn campaign, Patton Oswalt trade jabs over comedian's support for Senate candidate MJ Hegar announces Texas Senate bid MORE and Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioDems plot aggressive post-Mueller moves, beginning with McGahn Senate Republicans tested on Trump support after Mueller Cuban negotiator says Trump's efforts to destabilize Cuba's government will fail 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 RyanAppeals court rules House chaplain can reject secular prayers FEC filing: No individuals donated to indicted GOP rep this cycle The Hill's Morning Report - Waiting on Mueller: Answers come on Thursday MORE (Wis.) and Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellElection agency limps into 2020 cycle The Hill's Morning Report - Will Joe Biden's unifying strategy work? Dems charge ahead on immigration 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 SessionsForget the spin: Five unrefuted Mueller Report revelations Sessions: It's time to accept the results of the Mueller report and move on Trump poised to roll back transgender health protections 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.