The Corner

First, Someone Needs to Tell Trump He Lost

In post-campaign books, it’s always interesting reading about how aides tell the president or candidate that he lost a debate. Someone needs to do that with Trump if it hasn’t happened already, but it’s obviously a touchy assignment (a little like drawing the straw to tell Achilles that Patroclus is dead). From the New York Times:

A delicate approach to the candidate is now in the works. Before his advisers can shape Mr. Trump’s performance for the next debate, on Oct. 9 in St. Louis — which, contrary to speculation, he does plan to attend, a top aide said — they need to convince him that he can do better than he did in the first one and that only a disciplined, strategic attack can damage Mrs. Clinton with voters. Advisers said that Mr. Trump had been prepped to handle Mrs. Clinton’s attacks on Monday but did not effectively execute responses to them.
Some details from his prep:

Mr. Trump’s debate preparation was unconventional. Aides have introduced a podium and encouraged him to participate in mock debates, but he has not embraced them, focusing mostly on conversations and discussions with advisers.

During the primaries, the group briefing him for debates was small and closely held. By the weekend before the debate on Monday at Hofstra University, there were nearly a dozen people preparing Mr. Trump, including the retired Army generals Michael Flynn and Keith Kellogg, neither of whom has experience in presidential debates.

There were early efforts to run a more standard form of general election debate-prep camp, led by his removal from Fox and the news media reports surrounding it, discussing his own problems as well as recounting political war stories, according to two people present for the sessions.

Rudolph W. Giuliani, the former New York City mayor and a friend of Mr. Trump’s who has been traveling with him extensively, took over much of the preparation efforts by the end. But with Mr. Trump receiving so much conflicting advice in those sessions, he absorbed little of it.

Michael Flynn wouldn’t be among the top 1,000 people I’d want to be prepping Trump for a debate.

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