Trump told aides to deny internal polling showed him trailing Biden

President TrumpDonald John TrumpWarren defends, Buttigieg attacks in debate that shrank the field Five takeaways from the Democratic debate in Ohio Democrats debate in Ohio: Who came out on top? MORE told aides to deny that his internal polling showed him trailing former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenWarren defends, Buttigieg attacks in debate that shrank the field Five takeaways from the Democratic debate in Ohio New study: Full-scale 'Medicare for All' costs trillion over 10 years MORE in key states, according to a new report from The New York Times.

Later, when the polling in 17 states conducted by Tony Fabrizio leaked, Trump told aides to tell reporters that other data showed him doing better, according to the Times story written by Annie Karni and Maggie HabermanMaggie Lindsy HabermanThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Video depicting Trump killing media, critics draws backlash The Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by USAA — Trump sparks firestorm over Syria Giuliani pulls out of event featuring Putin: reports MORE.

ADVERTISEMENT

The polling reportedly showed Trump behind Biden in a number of the states he needs to take to win reelection, though the Times report did not identify them.

“No one has ever asked us to lie about anything," a Trump campaign official told The Hill in a statement on Tuesday. "The poll in question shows President Trump beating a defined Democrat opponent.”

Beyond Trump's internal polling, a series of recent surveys have shown the president trailing Biden in several important states.

Last week, a Quinnipiac University poll found Biden 4 points ahead of Trump in Texas, a state Democrats haven't won in the presidential election since 1976.

A different poll released last week found Trump trailing Biden and several other 2020 Democrats in Michigan, a state he narrowly won in 2016. 

Trump was the first Republican presidential candidate to win Michigan and Pennsylvania since 1988. He also won Wisconsin, the first time a Republican had taken that state since 1984.

If Trump were to lose those three states in 2020 and the Democratic nominee held the other states carried by Democrat Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonWarren defends, Buttigieg attacks in debate that shrank the field Democrats fear Ohio slipping further away in 2020 Poll: Warren leads Biden in Maine by 12 points MORE in 2016, Trump would lose the Electoral College.

Trump has been focused on Biden, who has been the front-runner in the Democratic campaign so far. He and Biden will both be campaigning on Tuesday in Iowa, which will host the first caucuses early next year.  

--This report was updated at 11:25 a.m.