President Donald Trump accused Fox News anchor Bret Baier of promoting "fake news" Monday night after the conservative cable network cited figures from his campaign's own internal polling, which showed the White House incumbent lagging behind Democratic presidential frontrunner Joe Biden in several key battleground states.
"Something weird going on at Fox," the president tweeted, declaring that his campaign's internal polls "show us leading in all 17 Swing States," despite leaked evidence to the contrary.
Trump also pushed back against the claim that he spent 30 hours with ABC News host George Stephanopoulos, as the network repeatedly stated in promotional messages for its wide-ranging interview with the president.
"More Fake News," the president tweeted at Fox anchor Bret Baier, using a phrase he frequently employs to describe every major news organization in the country but has rarely, if ever, used to label Fox News.
Trump's tweets followed the news that the president's re-election campaign fired three of its five pollsters after polling conducted by the campaign that showed unfavorable numbers for the president leaked to the press. The 17-state survey, conducted by the Trump campaign's lead pollster Tony Fabrizio between March 13 and March 28, found Trump trailing Biden by double-digits across swing states seen as crucial to his re-election victory and in Democratic-leaning states where Republicans have sought to gain momentum. It also showed Trump underperforming in reliably red states that have not been competitive for decades in presidential elections.
Trump has angrily denied coverage of the numbers in recent days, telling ABC News in an interview broadcast last week, "Those polls don't exist. I just had a meeting with somebody that's a pollster, and I'm winning everywhere, so I just don't know what you're talking about."
He also tweeted that his numbers are "the best numbers WE have ever had," and claimed the numbers reported were from "Fake Polling."
But on Friday, ABC News reported specific information from that allegedly fake polling. The data obtained by the news outlet showed Trump trailing Biden by double-digits in Florida, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin —states where the president edged Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton by narrow margins that powered his victory in 2016.
Trump's campaign staff did not dispute the authenticity of the polls, but Brad Parscale, the president's campaign manager, told ABC News that the surveys were outdated.
"These leaked numbers are ancient, in campaign terms, from months-old polling that began in March before two major events had occurred: the release of the summary of the Mueller report exonerating the president and the beginning of the Democrat candidates defining themselves with far-left policy messages," he argued.
Parscale also claimed the campaign has seen "huge swings in the president's favor across the 17 states we have polled based on the policies espoused by the Democrats," adding that a "plan to provide free healthcare to illegal immigrants results in an 18-point swing toward President Trump."
Attorney General William Barr's summary of former special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Moscow and whether the president obstructed justice was released on March 24. While the Trump campaign's poll was already being carried out ahead of the release of Barr's letter, it was underway for four additional days after the release of Barr's letter to the public.
Mueller said there was insufficient evidence to show a criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and Russia and declined to reach a conclusion on whether the president committed obstruction, despite detailing at least ten episodes of possible obstruction in his report. Mueller said last month he could not charge Trump with a crime due to a longstanding Department of Justice policy, which prevents a sitting executive from being indicted but emphasized that he did not exonerate the president.
NBC News on Sunday reported further data from the Trump campaign polls in March, revealing that the president also trailed Biden in Georgia by 6 points, Iowa by 7 points, Maine by 15 points, Minnesota by 14, North Carolina by 8 points, Ohio by 1 point and Virginia by 17 points.
The president led Biden by only two points in Texas, where a Democratic presidential nominee has not won since former President Jimmy Carter took the state in 1976.
Trump is set to formally launch his 2020 re-election campaign Tuesday night in Orlando, Florida.