President Donald Trump was not pleased by the marquee closing TV ad his campaign unveiled last week featuring upbeat themes about the economy.
“He hated it,” one Republican official said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss internal conversations the President had with allies.
Instead, he insisted to aides that his closing argument for the midterm elections would be a hardline anti-immigration message to fire up his core supporters, two Republican officials familiar with the matter tell CNN.
House Republican sources who had been frustrated with the President for a number of reasons this election year very much liked the ad touting the economy because it was a rare appeal to the very suburban female voter they are worried about losing big time – largely because of the President’s polarizing rhetoric.
This mixed messaging is yet another indication of the divide playing out inside Trump’s inner circle – and Republicans at large – on the eve of the midterm elections. The debate remains whether the message of fear and division over immigration was the best course for the President to take, rather than to talk more about the booming economy as many GOP leaders have implored Trump to do.
That latest ad, which was racist in its tone and subject matter, was initially rejected by CNN and later NBC and Fox News on Monday. The President retweeted the racist message from his official Twitter account, a sign of his personal approval, which he never did with the slick ad created by his campaign.
The President had signed off on the closing ad, overseen by campaign manager Brad Parscale, but in the wake of the Pittsburgh synagogue shooting and the arrest of the alleged Florida pipe bomb maker, Trump did not think the optimistic message on the economy was sufficient or the right approach, the two GOP officials said.
It’s unclear whether the President is holding Parscale personally responsible for the ad, but the two Republican officials said Trump was agitated at him over the $6 million nationwide ad buy.
Parscale told CNN’s Dana Bash last week: “What this ad shows is things are getting better. We need to continue to vote Republican and to continue to move forward with the president’s agenda.”
The ad, which had echoes of Ronald Reagan’s epic 1984 “Morning in America” political commercial, had the look and feel of a Super Bowl ad. It did not feature Trump, which the two GOP officials said also did not please the President.