Politics

Trump downplays swing voter outreach: 'I'm not sure I have to do that'

Swing states were key to 2016 victory

WASHINGTON, D.C. - President Donald Trump is banking on the strength of his base in 2020 and isn't concerned about swing voter outreach ahead of what is expected to be a highly competitive campaign.

"I think my base is so strong, I'm not sure that I have to do that," Trump told TIME during a 57-minute Oval Office interview earlier this week that was published Thursday when "asked whether he should reach out to swing voters."

The President, who won by narrow margins in several key swing states in 2016, is going to need swing voters to pull off another victory in 2020. More than half the country disapproves of his job as President, and he trails every presidential candidate in the top tier of the Democratic field in head-to-head matchups, according to recent polls.

The Trump campaign declined to comment on his remarks to TIME. However, the campaign has long been hard at work identifying swing voters and building a massive data operation to target and turn them out on Election Day.

Brad Parscale, Trump's 2020 campaign manager, told TIME the mantra of the 2020 campaign is "turnout, turnout, turnout."

"People all think you have to change people's minds. You have to get people to show up that believe in you," he said, echoing his boss.

Trump's 2016 campaign adviser Steve Bannon also weighed in on the topic in more colorful terms in an interview with the magazine.

"You have to get every f--king deplorable," Bannon told the magazine, adding, "Everybody's got to show up."

Though he filed his paperwork with the Federal Election Commission on the day of his inauguration in 2017, Trump formally launched his 2020 campaign in a packed Orlando arena on Tuesday.

The rally was cast as a blockbuster reelection launch but offered many of the same themes as his 2016 campaign, including grievances aired at the media and Hillary Clinton and familiar refrains on immigration.

CNN's Jeremy Diamond contributed to this report.


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