Trump campaign lashes out over ‘Don’t defend Trump’ memo

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The Trump campaign is upset about the wording in a memo distributed to Republican Senate candidates about how to address the coronavirus crisis by “attacking China, not defending Trump.”

The document urges candidates to stay relentlessly on message against the country when responding to any questions about the virus. When asked whether the spread of the coronavirus is Trump’s fault, candidates are advised to respond by pivoting to China.

“Don’t defend Trump, other than the China Travel Ban — attack China,” the memo states.

A Trump political adviser told the National Republican Senatorial Committee director that any Republican candidate who followed the memo’s advice shouldn’t expect the active support of the reelection campaign and risked losing the support of Republican voters.

The memo stressed three lines of assault for candidates to stay on the Trump message when responding to questions about the crisis.

  • that China caused the virus by “covering it up”
  • that Democrats are “soft on China”
  • that Republicans will “push for sanctions on China for its role in spreading this pandemic”

Trump campaign officials said they were rankled by other passages in the memo, including one line that advised Republican candidates to say: “I wish that everyone acted earlier – that includes our elected officials, the World Health Organization, and the CDC.”

See details at Politico here and here.