Here are a few known facts about Donald Trump:
1. He cares a lot about his poll numbers.
2. His polling is very bad right now.
3. He never accepts responsibility for any problem he faces.
4. He frequently threatens to sue people, lack of merit notwithstanding.
Both CNN, which cites three sources familiar with the call, and the Post, which cites two, note that it isn’t clear how serious Trump intended his threat. We can safely assume the lawsuit will not proceed. The question is whether Trump actually intended the suit as a threat, even a momentary one, or was merely employing a figure of speech to communicate his displeasure.
Obviously, even in the sanest version of this episode, it’s fairly bonkers for Trump to be lashing out at Parscale for showing Trump bad polling numbers. Trump’s polls have been bad throughout his presidency, and they’ve gotten especially bad because he spent weeks on-camera loudly insisting that the massive pandemic sweeping the planet would be harmless, then badly botched the government response, and most recently asked his science advisers, again on-camera, to investigate treatments involving sunlight or disinfectant inside the body.
Both stories report that Trump threatened to sue Parscale after being shown polling numbers in which he trails Joe Biden in major swing states. The polls were used to try to persuade Trump to scale back his daily televised rants. Trump pushed back, according to the Post, insisting people “love” his appearances and believe the harangues show he is “fighting for them.”
The meeting in which Trump insisted his briefings are a political benefit occurred before he went out and tried to brainstorm juvenile remedies for the coronavirus.
But the story ends on a happy note. “Parscale came to the Oval Office Tuesday for a long meeting with Trump where the hatchet was buried,” reports the Post. “He brought polling numbers that were more positive for Trump, and the president seemed in a far better mood.” When your subordinates present you with bad news, berate them; when they bring you cheerful news, reward them. This is a trait of great leaders.